Iowa Old Press

Progress Review
La Porte City, Black Hawk, Iowa
December 22, 1932

H.M. Mitchell, Fellow Officer, Shot and Seriously Wounded by Killer
Last Friday afternoon about 2:15 o'clock, Deputy Sheriff Wm. Dilworth lost his life and Deputy Sheriff H.M. Mitchell was seriously shot by two men whom they attempted to arrest on a charge of rape. The murder and shooting of Mitchell occurred at a house about one-half mile east of the Waterloo city limits. The murder of Dilworth was cold blooded.

Brewer and a companion, Patrick Griffith [sic-Griffin], were lying on a bed in one of the two rooms of the house. Dilworth went to the kitchen door, in the other room, and inquired for Brewer. Brewer came through the connecting door with a pistol in his hand. "Hands up!" he commanded the officers. Both complied, but Dilworth kept advancing toward Brewer, who had Griffith [sic] at his back. Brewer, according to witnesses, said, "I'm going to shoot you," and then fired. The bullet crashed through Dilworth's left temple, and he died almost instantly. Immediately Griffith [sic] shot Mitchell, the bullet entering his back.

Brewer and Griffith [sic] then ran south toward the Cedar river. Mitchell, bleeding profusely, drove his car to the Cottonwood inn, about half a mile away, and was taken from there to St. Francis hospital by William Kahn, proprietor. He was placed on the operating table at 3:15 p.m., about an hour after the shooting.

Brewer and Griffith [sic] had gone to the Graves home about an hour before the shooting in a Studebaker automobile bearing an Illinois license. They left the car there, when they fled after Dilworth and Mitchell were shot. Eight officers, including Sheriff H.T. Wagner, Chief of Police F.M. Shores, police deputies and federal agents, joined by citizen volunteers, spread a cordon about the fields within two miles of
the house. The search for the fugitives centered in Maywood addition, on the bank of the Cedar.

Mitchell was taken to St. Francis hospital and at this time is making a fine recovery and unless something unforeseen enters the case will soon be able to be taken to his home. He was shot once the bullet entering the left side of his back cutting through his back and lodging in his clothing on his right side. The bullet was from a .32 calibre gun. Dilworth was shot twice. A .38 calibre bullet which Brewer said he fired entered the left side of the deputy's head and went out the right side. Then it cut through the outside door and has not been found. A hole made by the bullet in the door panel indicates the bullet, of high velocity type, had struck something before hitting the door. The other bullet, a .32 calibre, was taken from his body Saturday. It had struck and broken the deputy's belt buckle, entering the body about two inches.

The .32 calibre gun, a Spanish-made automatic, was taken from Griffin when he was captured within two hours after the shooting Friday afternoon by City Detective Hugh Crumrine and Paul Stealy, 34, an Illinois Central fireman. It was jammed and could not be fired, officers said, probably explaining the fact that Griffin had fired it only twice, and did not resist arrest. The .38 calibre weapon, a German Luger type pistol, was found after dark Friday by Towne and Crumrine by use of flashlights, going only on a description of the place in the field where Brewer said he had thrown it. It had broken after firing the fatal charge into Dilworth's body, which is why he threw it away, Brewer said. The three empty cartridges and the two .32 bullets have been found, only the .38 bullet which went through the outside door being missing.

Stories of the shooting by both men were practically identical, and correspond closely to the story told by Mitchell and two other witnesses. The men thought the officers wanted them for robbing a safe in Topeka, Kan., of about $110 the night of Dec. 4, they told the officers Friday night. They did not know at whom they were shooting when they pushed aside a light door and came out with their guns blazing in faces of the deputies, they said, although Brewer later said he was acquainted with Mitchell, having worked with him at the Rath Packing plant several years ago.

They had overheard the officers talking with Mrs. Ernest Frank Graves, at whose home the tragedy occurred, and at that time made up their minds to shoot their way out, both told officers. "Hands up!" Griffin is said to have commanded as he shoved the light un-hinged door aside. Both deputies complied. They were facing two men who held guns before their faces. Information given by eye-witnesses and the two men is that Griffin, about a half a step ahead of Brewer, fired the shot into Dilworth's body. Brewer then fired the fatal shot through the deputy's head, he himself has declared. As Dilworth fell into Mitchell's arms, causing the latter to turn sidewise, the second shot from Griffin's .32 calibre gun tore into his left side.

Both gunmen then fled, not attempting to take their large sedan parked outside. Knocked to the floor and momentarily unconscious from shock of the shot, Mitchell forced himself out of the room and to his car parked several yards from the house. He drove it to Cottonwood inn, nearly half a mile distant, and although weak from loss of blood from the wound which extended the entire width of his body, entered the inn and told William Kuhn of the shooting, instructing him to telephone Wagner. Mitchell then insisted on going back to help Dilworth, but was forced to go to the hospital. Crumrine, a close friend of the slain man, was one of the first to reach the scene of shooting after Kahn telephoned Wagner. He had trailed the gunmen several miles east at a distance south of the highway when he came upon Stealy and asked him to help in the search. They surprised the pair by coming over a knoll and took them captive without resistance about 4:15 p.m.

Crumrine and Dilworth were both wounded in a shooting scrap about four years ago when they sought to arrest an escaped inmate. When the officers entered the Graves home and asked for Brewer, Mrs. Graves said he was not there. When asked what was in the next room, Mrs. Graves told the officers they would have to look for themselves. It was while they were advancing toward it that the armed men appeared and started shooting.

Dilworth, who has been a deputy in Sheriff Wagner's office for the past eight years was known as a fearless official and at all times was ready and willing to enforce the laws of the state and county. He was respected by all who knew him and his untimely death will be mourned by the entire county. Mr. Mitchell, the wounded officer, is also well known in the county and his many friends are glad to know that although severely wounded he will recover and again be able to take up his dutiesas deputy sheriff.

The murder and attempted murder by Griffith [sic] and Brewer was cold blooded and there is no reason that the death sentence should not be meeted out to both when they are brought to trial. Peace officers of the state and county should be protected and the law should deal drastically with criminals of the sort which have just caused the death of such men asDilworth and the attempted murder of Mitchell. Both Dilworth and Mitchell have many friends in La Porte City and vicinity and all home that their assassins will receive the full penalty of the law.
Funeral services for the murdered man were held Monday afternoon from Grace M.E. church at Waterloo, Rev. William Hardcastle, pastor of that city officiating. Dilworth was a member of the Plymouth church and his untimely death has caused great sorrow among its membership. The American Legion, of which the deceased was a valued member, assisted in the funeral rites. At the close of the funeral service the remains were sent to Crab Orchard, Neb., the birthplace of Dilworth, where burial took place Tuesday afternoon.

Surviving besides the widow and her 8-year-old daughter, Betty Jean, are: His mother, Mrs. Emma Dilworth and a brother, Roland, both of Crab Orchard, Neb.; three sisters, Mrs. Pearl McKinzie, Lincoln, Neb.; Mrs. P.F. Stueze, Scotts Bluff, Neb., and Mrs. R.E. Fulton, Casper, Wyo., and a son by a former marriage, Norman Dilworth, Stemauer, Neb. Dilworth enlisted in the United States navy at Omaha, March 18, 1918, as a yeoman, second class, and was released from active duty in the spring of 1919. He was discharged from the naval reserve Sept. 30, 1921, at the Great Lakes Training station. Two years ago he served as vice commander in charge of membership for Becker-Chapman post, American Legion, and he had held other public offices in the organization. He had played in the post band and drum and bugle corps and sung in the post's quartet.
Approximately 300 persons went to the Black Hawk county jail Friday night to seek permission from Sheriff H.T. Wagner to lynch Elmer Brewer, 38, and Patrick Griffin, 33, confessed slayers of a sheriff's deputy.

[transcribed by C.J.L.- 1st cousin twice removed to Patrick Griffin (unfortunately); January 2007]

Iowa Old Press Home
Black Hawk County