Posts filed under ‘assault’

A Peddler Pelted

Each day at noon, the little children emerge from their classroom at the San Pedro-street school and tramp off to their respective homes to have a nutritious lunch en famille. Dear little creatures, some barely old enough to walk, who spend their days in learning what life is all about, and the skills they’ll need to navigate this fresh new city they are lucky enough to be citizens of.

On this particular day, the wee ones engaged in their favorite noontime activity, the tormenting of a Chinese vegetable peddler whose route regrettably takes him near to their school. The children fell upon his wagon, snatching up potatoes with which to pelt the… well, he was not a man, exactly, he was a Celestial, in the parlance of the day.

Enraged, the victim ran at the diminutive mob, waving his blacksnake whip and shrieking invective. What else could you expect from a savage? All the children scattered, save one terrified three-year-old boy. The vendor obligingly whipped the child about the head and the feet, compelling a passing white man to grab the whip and knock the Chinese to the ground. No one was badly hurt, and the parade moved on — just a typical happening in 1896 LA for all concerned. 

Photo credit: Chan Yip Leung, a fruit and vegetable peddler next to wagon, 1914 (LAPL)

November 12, 2009 at 8:36 am 1 comment

Pass Me a Napkin, or I’ll Shoot!

Ex-convict Ray Davis, 31, was seated at the counter of a café at 456 South Main Street, when he realized that the napkins were just out of reach. He asked the man next to him, Bob Sahagain, a 21 year old Sioux, to please pass him a napkin. Bob chuckled, saying “I can’t”, then turned away from Ray to continue his conversation with a friend.

Ray thought that Bob was being rude and asked him once again to hand over a napkin. Bob turned to him, laughed, and repeated that he couldn’t do it. Maybe it was a case of diner rage, or perhaps Ray was flashing back to his prison days, taking his meals in a crowded mess hall, where manners were an artifact of a society too far removed. Whether they were past, or present, the demons in Ray’s head prompted him to pull out a .25 caliber pistol and shoot the young man in the back.  

What Ray had failed to notice about Bob was that he was totally blind – he had two glass eyes! The patrons of the café decided that if anyone needed to be taught a lesson about etiquette, it was Ray. Surely shooting someone at the dining counter of an SRO Land café could be considered the height of bad manners. A small mob formed immediately following the gun play. Ray was soon disarmed and the patrons began to beat him, breaking his jaw. They continued to beat him until the cops arrived and ended the confrontation.  

Bob was reported to be in fair condition at General Hospital.Ray was booked at Central Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit murder.  

I think I’ll have dinner at home tonight.  

September 9, 2009 at 2:46 am Leave a comment

Marion Dayar…Detective

Marion Dayar, a twenty-three year old nightclub entertainer, was severely beaten by a brick bat wielding assailant in her Bixel Street apartment on May 20, 1939.  Marion vowed that she would find her attacker if it took the rest of her life. It wouldn’t take her that long.

Marion became an amateur detective; and for a few weeks she staked out local bars keeping her eyes peeled for the man whose face was seared into her memory.

I admire Marion’s pluck. Maybe she had been inspired by the famed girl detective, Nancy Drew. The series of novels debuted in 1930 and chronicled the exploits of the feisty young snoop as she solved cases that baffled mere adults. Or maybe Marion had decided to conduct her own investigation after seeing one of the filmed versions of the Nancy Drew tales which, starring Bonita Granville, debuted in theaters in 1938.

Marion Dayar

No matter what her inspiration, Marion’s quest for her assailant paid off when she spotted Tossie R. Bull.  She immediately recognized Bull, a dishwasher at a café located at 527 S. Main Street, as the brute who had invaded her apartment and beaten her senseless.  Marion didn’t hesitate; she telephoned the cops and informed them that she was holding the suspect at the café.  And so the “Case of the Violent Dishwasher” came to a successful conclusion.

August 24, 2009 at 12:05 am 1 comment


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