Once that door is opened, events will be set in motion that are impossible to stop. Three men will be dead or dying within minutes, another three hanging by their necks by the end of the week. The town’s cultivated image as the lovely City of the Roses will soon be shattered as the savagery of its citizens is revealed. It is about three o’clock in the afternoon of Sunday, December 5, 1920 in Santa Rosa as Sheriff Jim Petray raises his arm to knock on that door.

Series on the 1920 lynchings in Santa Rosa


This is the fourth chapter in the series “THERE WILL BE PRICES PAID” about the 1920 lynching in Santa Rosa. As this part of the story began, the front pages of Bay Area newspapers had been filled for days about the police dragnet to track down members of the San Francisco “Howard Street Gang,” who had gang raped a woman on Thanksgiving and two other women a few weeks prior. Five suspects had been caught and arraigned with another twenty believed at large.

San Francisco Detective Lester Dorman and Detective Sergeant Miles Jackson were working fulltime on the pursuit of the gangsters, and the day before these events Sheriff Petray notified them that some of the wanted men were reportedly in Santa Rosa. It was agreed the officers would drive up with three of the victims expected to ID them.

The man they expected to find was Charles Valento, who they mistakenly believed was in charge of the Howard street speakeasy. They also believed they would nab Louis Lazarus, who had been in Santa Rosa for part of the week and may have left as recently as that Sunday morning. It was reported in the Examiner that one of the rape victims had recognized him via his mug photo. (It’s unclear whether he was identified before the Santa Rosa visit or if he was wanted only because he was known to be associated with the speakeasy.)

There were two others in our cast of characters you need to know: George Boyd (see previous chapter) and Dorothy Quinlan. Although it turned out she was innocent of any wrongdoing, she was first suspected of being a gang member herself. Had the mob succeeded in breaking into the jail Sunday night it’s not inconceivable she might have been lynched along with the men.

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After her capture, rumors flew that Dorothy Quinlan was part of the Howard Street Gang and tasked with procuring young women to come to their lair. She drew further suspicion when it became known she worked at the Hale Bros. department store in San Francisco, and the night she was in Santa Rosa it was robbed by a team of four safe-crackers who seemed very familiar with the store and the night watchman situation. While she was only a waitress at the store’s cafeteria, much was made in the press that her out-of-town trip seemed timed for someone wanting to create an alibi.

In truth she was Valento’s girlfriend, having known him for about a month. “He telephoned me that there was to be a party at the home of a friend of his in Santa Rosa and invited me to go. I thought he was all right,” she later told reporters. Part of her attraction was knowing he was a bootlegger. “I was a lonesome woman in a large city and I liked a good time. I was invited to a San Francisco resort where drinks were served and there met Valento,” she told the PD. “He made a fuss over me and I thought that he liked me.”

On that evening before the horrors began, all of our players were having a memorable Saturday night. Terry Fitts – the Santa Rosa hoodlum who brought the gangsters here – arranged a special dinner (its specialness undoubtedly meaning it included lots of illegal booze) to be served for Quinlan, Valento, Boyd and himself. Afterwards the four went to Casassa’s speakeasy on Guerneville Road where they drank and danced until 2AM. When the party returned to Santa Rosa, Dorothy and boyfriend Valento scooted over to the La Rosa hotel.

Elsewhere on that rainy and blustery night in Santa Rosa, Jim Petray and his deputies were at a banquet in honor of his close friend, State Senator Herb Slater. It was “a most happy gathering,” according to the PD.

All that was the quiet. Now comes the storm.

On Sunday morning Sheriff Petray welcomed the group from San Francisco.1 Besides Detectives Dorman and Jackson, Policewoman Kate O’Conner was the escort for the three women.

After Petray and everyone from San Francisco had a noontime Sunday dinner at a hotel restaurant, the sheriff and two deputies, the Santa Rosa police chief and the detectives set off on their hunt. As Terry Fitts and the others had no auto and were taking taxis everywhere it was well known where the gangsters were hanging out.

The first place they tried was Casassa’s ranch, where they learned the gangsters had been there until very late and there was now a woman with them. Back to Santa Rosa and its Italian district. On Adams street they searched the Torino hotel (which was owned by Casassa) and then the Toscano hotel, where Fitts and the others had that “special” dinner.

“While there a bystander asked the officer if they were looking for a ‘little black fellow'” who had just entered the house next to the hotel, the Press Democrat reported. It was first presumed this was a description of Louis Lazarus, but testimony at the Coroner’s Inquest revealed he was never there – the man spotted going in to the Guidotti home was Valento.2


A galling mistake still told about these events is that the murders happened at the Guidotti place because the gangsters were staying there. Even if Pete and Jennie Guidotti wanted to harbor the criminals they had no room for guests – the tiny house (about 900 sq. ft.) only had two bedrooms, no bath, and their family included two children, the youngest barely three years old.

Pete Guidotti’s connection to Fitts is unknown, although everyone in Santa Rosa seemed to be familiar with the infamous hoodlum. The association was probably via the Toscano hotel (the current location of Stark’s Steakhouse) being the gang’s favorite hangout and next door to their home. Pete and his two brothers were the hotel’s proprietors until early 1920 when they leased it out, although it was still commonly known as “Guidotti’s Hotel”.

What Pete Guidotti did for a living at the time of the murders is unknown. He and/or Jennie might have been employees at the Toscano but it’s more likely his source of income involved bootlegging. A few months after the family retook control of the hotel in 1921, a Prohibition search found seven 10-gallon casks of hooch in the tank house. Several times in the following years Pete would be accused of serving alcohol and sometimes arrested.

Just before the lawmen settled on a plan for approaching the house where the suspects were, a family friend of the Guidotti’s innocently popped by for a Sunday afternoon visit. When the bullets began whizzing around it was by great good luck that Dan FitzGerald was not injured (some might remember his children who spent their lives here and died in the 1990s: Abraham Lincoln “Dink” FitzGerald and Vera Moors).

The Guidottis had never met Valento or Boyd but they knew Fitts, who pulled Pete Guidotti aside in the kitchen. The reason they were there, Fitts explained, was because he wanted to borrow a thousand dollars, which would be secured by a note endorsed by his relatives – presumably the sisters were no longer feeling so generous about splitting their inheritance with their crazy, no-account brother. “I said it was out of the question, so let it go,” Guidotti recalled telling Fitts.

And very shortly thereafter there was a knock on the front door.

The Guidotti home in 1920. Photo: Hamilton H. Dobbin collection, California State Library.
The Guidotti home in 1920. Photo: Hamilton H. Dobbin collection, California State Library.

The description here of the shootings is a composite from accounts given to reporters by FitzGerald and both Guidottis within the first hours of the murders. Great coverage appeared in the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle but neither matched the excellent Dec. 6 reporting in the Press Democrat, transcribed below. Factual differences between the versions of what happened in those few minutes are trivial.

Pete Guidotti answered the door to see Petray and the two San Francisco detectives. “What do you want, Sheriff?” He asked.

“There are two boys in your house here that I want,” Jim Petray replied, with a disarming, easy laugh.

The law officers stepped into the small living room, where Boyd was reclining on a couch. FitzGerald and Valento came in from the kitchen and all the suspects except Boyd sat around a table with the lawmen, while Dorothy Quinlan and the Guidottis remained in the kitchen.

The cops didn’t know who FitzGerald or Boyd were, but the head detective and Fitts immediately recognized each other.

“I’m Miles Jackson.”

“I remember you,” said Fitts. “You sent me up for a jolt once and I was innocent.”

“No, you were not innocent,” replied Jackson. “You were sent to prison for breaking your parole.” (This was a 1914 incident where Fitts was part of a gang plotting to rob a jewelry store, and Jackson was shot and wounded by a gang member – see chapter six for more.)

Guidotti heard Petray (or Jackson?) arguing with Fitts and he stepped into the room to ask what was the matter.

“Just a little trouble,” Petray assured. Guidotti returned to the kitchen and heard raised voices again.

Detective Dorman stood and said to Valento: “Well, we want you to come along to the station [meaning the Sheriff’s Office and County Jail]. If the girls don’t identify you we’ll let you go.”

Sergeant Jackson added, “We’d better take the rest of them, too.” Valento and Fitts rose to go with the officers as Jackson went to the kitchen to summon the two deputies who had been stationed outside the backdoor.

George Boyd – who had remained silently lounging on the sofa as tensions in the room grew – swung to his feet. From underneath a pillow he drew Fitts’ 44 special Smith & Wesson “monster” and began firing as fast as he could pull the trigger and with uncanny accuracy, all the more remarkable because he would claim to be so drunk he didn’t know what he was doing.

Detective Dorman was hit, calling out to his partner as he fell, “Oh, Miles…”

Sheriff Petray, standing next to the Guidotti’s phonograph, was shot in the head and groin.

Jackson pulled his revolver and turned back from the kitchen. Boyd shot him as he stepped into the doorway. As he collapsed he fired twice. One bullet struck Boyd in the abdomen.

Deputy Robinson – waiting outside the backdoor – later testified at the Coroner’s Inquest,

All of a sudden we heard this disastrous shooting – eight shots very close together. We rushed to the door to get in and as we rushed to the door this blonde lady and Mrs. Guidotti, and she had a little girl by the arm, came out of the house hollering…Pete come running out. His wife had fallen down with the youngster. I told Pete ‘you better take care of your wife and get out of here.’

As the two deputies rushed in through the kitchen door, they ran into Fitts and Valento trying to escape. The other deputy handcuffed them together as Robinson entered the house. He found Boyd bent over in pain and repeating, “I haven’t done nothing. I haven’t done nothing.” The deputy hit him hard before locking on handcuffs.

Throughout this, Dan FitzGerald was paralyzed in fear. “Boyd looked at me pretty straight,” he told the PD, “and may have thought I came with the officers.”

Petray was face down. Deputy Robinson rolled him partially over and asked: “Are you done for, Jim?” The only sign of life was some hand motion and groaning. Robinson ordered FitzGerald: “Help me pack him out of here.”

They carried the Sheriff out to one of the police cars and someone raced him to the Mary Jesse hospital at the corner of Fifth and King streets. Jim Petray would die a few minutes after being hefted onto the operating table.

Detective Dorman was also taken there and survived a few hours, long enough for his wife to reach him from San Francisco. Miles Jackson died in the house, a bullet through both lungs.

Of the five shots fired by Boyd, four struck the law enforcement officers. The gun belonged to Fitts, but it was Valento who purchased the bullets at a Fourth street gun store a couple of days before – and he bought the soft-nosed kind that expands upon impact and causes the most terrible damage. Yet so powerful was that big gun all/most of the bullets passed through the bodies and were now embedded in Guidotti’s walls, ceiling and floor.

guidottiroom(RIGHT: “Santa Rosa’s Death Room” SF Call, December 7, 1920)

The three gangsters were taken to the County Jail. FitzGerald and Pete Guidotti were also held and questioned. Deputy Robinson found Dorothy at the train station crouching in a telephone booth and brought her in as well.

Word of the killings ripped through Santa Rosa and the Redwood Empire beyond – if someone wasn’t telephoning you about what happened, it was because you already knew and were on the line telling someone else. Even though there was only about an hour left before dark, a photo shows a crowd of men milling on the sidewalk outside the jail.

One soul who somehow didn’t hear about it immediately was Ransom Petray, Jim’s 16 year-old son. The family had moved into a house at the corner of Benton and Slater streets that October and Ransom was in the habit of going downtown at 5 o’clock to walk home with his father. “He was surprised to see the crowd and learned the sad news from those gathered there,” reported the PD. “He broke completely, and deputies led him to a private room.”

As the news continued to spread, more people in Santa Rosa headed downtown. Those living farther away drove towards here in their autos or jumped aboard the electric trolley.

Night fell and they kept on coming. And coming. And coming. And they did not stop.


1In some accounts the group arrived in Santa Rosa on Saturday night, but the presence of Petray and the deputies at the banquet along with the foul weather for driving make that very unlikely.
2As seen in his mug shot in the previous chapter, Valento had a Mediterranean complexion with both his parents being from Trieste; his nickname was “Spani,” being short for “Spanish.” The Republican referred to the 5’2″ Valento as a “diminutive black looking specimen of humanity.”





Dan Fitz Gerald, who was in the room when the shooting occurred, gives a graphic description of the terrible affair.

“When the officers came in,” he said, “they began talking. We were all seated around the room, and when they ordered Boyd to stand up he started to obey, but as he got up he pulled his gun and, quick as a flash, began firing. He picked them out fast, and it was ‘pop, pop, pop,’ as quick as he could press the trigger. Then, as it seemed to me, he turned his gun on himself and shot himself through the stomach. Anyhow, when I looked at him he was toppling over and doubling up, and his pistol was in his hand and seemed to be pointed toward his stomach.”

“It was cold-blooded murder, and nothing else.”

“I helped the officers pick up the wounded men and carry them to the automobile, and also helped carry Jackson into the hospital.”

A fact tending to weaken the theory that Boyd turned his pistol upon himself is the finding of a bullet under the carpet in the dining room. The bullet came at an angle from the kitchen door, near where the slain officers were standing, gouged a small hole in the carpet, and lodged in the flooring but a few inches from where it first struck.

A complete search of the dining room failed to disclose evidence of another bullet fired in this direction, or the mark of a bullet in the walls of the room.

The room was not disarranged and shows no signs of any struggle or quick movements. Cut glass sitting on the table between the officers and the men was not disturbed.

But another bullet struck the dining room door leading to the kitchen and imbedded itself in the wall. The two bullet holes and a pool of blood on the carpel near where Sheriff Petray was said to have fallen were the only evidences of the terrible crime visible in the house.


“Jackson shot Boyd from the kitchen door, declared Guidotti to a Press Democrat representative, “and I saw him do it. I was out in the kitchen helping my wife with the dishes and I saw Jackson pull his gun and fire. Jackson was on the floor, and partly sitting up when he pulled his gun and fired. I think shot twice.”

“Fitts came in with two men, and said he wanted to talk to me about money. He asked me if I could [illegible microfilm] note for a thousand dollars and I said it was out of the question, so let it go.’ Then he said, ‘How about a little soup? I told him all right, to sit down and have some. They sat down and had a plate of soup, and it was only a little while after this that the officers came in.”

Guidotti’s statement that Detective Jackson fired the shot that “got” Boyd, is borne out by the direction taken by the bullet found beneath the carpet in the room in which the shooting occurred.


Mrs. Guidotti states that she did not know any of the men except Fitts. He came to the house, she said, just a few minutes before the arrival of the officers, accompanied by two strangers. Fitts requested the loan of a sum of money, which was refused.

There was a knock on the front door, she said, and Pete Guidotti went to the door and admitted the officers. They walked in and told the three men they wanted to see them. One of the men replied, according to Mrs. Guidotti. “Well, take us up town to the proper place. Let’s have no argument in this lady’s house.”

Mrs. Guidotti immediately went to the kitchen and picked up her small child. Just then she heard shots, and with the baby in her arms rushed frantically out of the house.

According to other witnesses, who were on the scene immediately after the tragedy. Sheriff Petray fell beside a phonograph, Jackson staggered into the kitchen and dropped. The three men made a break for the back door and were captured by Deputy Sheriffs Marvin Robinson and Robert Dickson.


Fitz Gerald, who is said to be an old friend of the Guidotti family and a frequent visitor at their home, dropped in only a few moments before the officers arrived. Fitts, Boyd and the others were already there. He expressed himself after the shooting as of the opinion that the San Francisco gang might try to make it appear that he had something to do with the raid. “Boyd looked at me pretty straight,” said Fitz Gerald, “and may have thought I came with the officers. If he had taken a shot at me, I would not have been greatly surprised, under the circumstances. I guess I am lucky to have escaped.”


Dr. W. S. Stone, Northwestern Pacific physician, and surgeon at San Quentin for six years, says that Thursday he made a trip from Healdsburg to San Rafael, accompanied by his wife.

He says that at Santa Rosa Terry Fitts and Charles Valento boarded the train for San Francisco. Stone says that he spoke to Fitts and was introduced to Valento. The men said they were going to San Francisco but would return to Santa Rosa in the evening. Stone asked Fitts how he had been getting along since he left the penitentiary and, he says, Fitts replied that he had fallen heir to some money and was getting along fine.

Statements from all the arrested men were taken by District Attorney Geo. W. Hoyle. It is said that Fitts and Valento denied knowing anything about who did the shooting, saying there was so much smoke and confusion that they were more concerned about getting out of the way.


Boyd at first told a lurid tale of knowing who did the shooting and said that he could identify the man. He later is said to have admitted that he fired one shot at Sergeant Miles. Boyd said that he was intoxicated and did not know how the trouble started, according to Dr. Jackson Temple, Boyd is evidently a dope fiend, carrying many marks of the needle on his arms.

The gun with which the officers were killed was a 44 special Smith & Wesson, a long barreled weapon. According to officers, it has been identified as [illegible microfilm] to Fitts. Just how it came into the hands of Boyd will have to be explained.

Among the contents of Boyd’s suit case, which was secured by the officers and taken to the county jail, was a box of 44-calibre shells, with one round missing. The box originally contained fifty shells, and now contains but forty-four. The bullets are of the soft-nose variety and capable of doing great damage.

Sheriff Petray received information Saturday that members of the Howard street gang who had assaulted several girls in San Francisco recently were in hiding here or in this vicinity. He notified the San Francisco police, and made an appointment to meet representatives from the San Francisco department and three, of the girls who had been attacked. The officers arrived here Sunday morning in a police automobile.

The San Francisco party included Detective Sergeant Miles Jackson, Policewoman Katherine O’Connor, Detective Lester Dorman, who was chauffeur of the police automobile, and three of the girls who were victims of the gang, Jean Montgomery, who formerly lived at Petaluma, Pearl Hanley and Edna Fullmer.

After dinner Sheriff Petray led a raiding party composed of the two San Francisco officers, Deputy Sheriffs Robert Dickson and Marvin Robinson and Chief of Police George Matthews, on a hunt for the gangsters.

Petray and the detectives went first to the Torino hotel. The others went to the Cassasa place. At Cassasa’s they were told that the men described had left at 1 o’clock Sunday morning and had not been back. At the Toscano hotel they were informed that the men had been there, but had left.


While there a bystander asked the officer if they were looking for a “little black fellow.” and stated that such a man had just gone into Pete Guidotti’s residence. adjoining the hotel.

Sheriff Petray and the detectives were informed and went to Guidotti’s door, while the deputies spread out, planning to surround the place. Guidotti talked with the officers, who entered the house, and found Terrance Fitts, Dan Fitz Gerald, Charles Valento, George Boyd, and a woman giving the name of Dorothy Quinlan and Mrs. Guidotti.

Robinson and Dickson walked around to the rear of the house while the conference was going on inside and had reached the rear door when they heard a number of shots fired in quick succession. Instantly the officers broke in the back door and faced Boyd, Fitts and Valento. With drawn revolvers the officers ordered hands up and Robinson clapped his irons on Boyd, while Dickson, assisted by Robinson, handcuffed Valento and Fitts together.

The sight Which met the deputies eyes almost paralyzed them. On the floor lay Sheriff Petray and the two detectives.


Deputy Robinson turned Petray partly on his side and asked: “Are you done for, Jim?”

The only response was a groan. So far as is known Petray never recovered consciousness. He was picked up by Robinson and Fitz Gerald and carried to a waiting automobile in which he was rushed to the Mary Jesse hospital. Dr. G. W. Mallory, who was at the hospital, said he was alive when placed on the operating table, but breathed his last after a few minutes, without speaking.

The two officers were picked up and rushed to the hospital in other machines. Jackson was dead when taken into the hospital, and Dorman was found to be critically wounded, a bullet having struck him in his right shoulder, and ranging across the breast and hitting the opposite bone and dropping downward. It was said about 1 o’clock by the attending physician that his condition was critical and the district attorney’s office was advised to secure a statement if they desired his testimony in the case.


Deputy District Attorney Ross Campbell and Harry A. Scott, one of the official court reporters, took down the statement as it was uttered.

George Boyd, who claims to be an engineer from Seattle, is charged by Dan Fitzgerald with having done the shooting. Jackson, after he was mortally wounded, is said to have fired a shot which entered Boyd’s right side and ranged into the liver. His injury is said by Dr. Jackson Temple, who attended him in the county jail, not to be serious.

Dan Fitz Gerald had been at the Guidotti home only for a short time when Valento entered, and is said by the officers not to be involved in any manner in the trouble. The same is said regarding Pete Guidotti, but both men went to the county jail, where they were detained and thoroughly questioned by District Attorney George W. Hoyle, who had their statements taken down in shorthand.

As the news spread through the city and the county, phone calls to the sheriff’s office and The Press Democrat came pouring in for particulars, and soon a great crowd had assembled around the county Jail eager to gain any bit of information possible. Relatives and friends of the dead sheriff were soon here from Healdsburg, and some strong talk was indulged in, but a number of deputy sheriffs and the local police were placed on guard and the sidewalks and porch cleared of all, and no one allowed to enter who did not have business in the office.


As soon us it was known that Sheriff Petray was dead Judge Seawell was summoned and advised that the deputies all be sworn in at once as deputy constables, and assisted Oscar Mathews in drawing appointments for the deputies as fast as they reported to the office, so as to provide a lawful police force for the county as the jurisdiction of all deputies die [sic] with the chief under the law.

Coroner F. H. Phillips reached Santa Rosa at 5 o’clock, and assumed temporary charge of the sheriff’s office upon the theory that in such case the coroner automatically becomes sheriff.

Superior Judge Emmet Seawell ruled that Phillips has power only to serve official papers. At the same time he conferred with Constable Mathews who had sworn in all former deputy sheriffs os constables, and John M. Boyes, deputy, and former Santa Rosa chief of police, was appointed as officer in charge of all constables for the night.

A meeting of the board of supervisors has been called for 10 o’clock this morning when the immediate appointment of a sheriff to conduct the office will be taken up.


Deputy Sheriff Robinson picked up four revolvers he found lying on the floor of the Guidotti dining room after he had handcuffed the prisoners and sent the wounded officers to the hospital. These were taken to the county jail with the prisoners and locked up in the vault for safe keeping, and as evidence later when required. Robinson examined the weapons in the presence of other deputies and the Press Democrat representative. One weapon, long barrelled, was found to have five empty shells, while another held two. The former is said to be that of Geo. Boyd by both Dan Fitz Gerald and Pete Guidotti, who declared Boyd drew a long-barrel weapon and fired the five slots as rapidly as be could pull the trigger. The other is said to be the weapon of Detective Jackson.

Chief of Police G. W. Matthews spent an hour or more Saturday night in the vicinity of tho Guidotti hotel, looking for Terry Fitts, who was reported to be running wild with a weapon, and it was feared he would do harm io some one unless he was detained.


That Sheriff James A. Petray had no premonition of any trouble in rounding up members of tho Howard street gang here, still less of death and disaster, was indicated Saturday when he gave Press Democrat representatives confidential information that two or three members of the gang had been located here, and that they would be arrested Sunday afternoon.

“I’m going to have a mighty good story for you tomorrow afternoon about 3 o’clock,” he said to one reporter. But at 3 o’clock Sunday Jim Petray was dead, slain by one at the gangsters he sought in the performance of his duty.


Mixed with the sadness of Petray’s office staff is their happiness in having gathered with him at a dinner party Saturday evening, arranged in honor of Senator Herbert Slater. All of the deputies gathered at the table with the sheriff and the guest of honor, who has long been a close friend of the slain officer. Assemblyman A. F. Stevens and Assemblyman-elect L. E. Fulwider, were also guests of honor for the occasion, which was a most happy gathering.


L. A. Close, the taxi driver, had an exciting experience with Fitts Wednesday night when he was called to Casassa’s by phone for a passenger.

“When Fitts got into the car he showed plainly that he had been drinking heavily,” said Close, telling of his experience with the man. “He placed a revolver to my head and said In Chicago they made the taxi drivers take them wherever they wanted to go, and not where the drivers liked. He asked me if I was game and I naturally replied that I was. He kept the gun at my head and told me to ’step on her.’ I did and took him to the Toscano hotel where I left him.”

Reports were made to the officers that Fitts had called at a private residence Thursday morning where he went through the place and flourished his gun with threats that he was going to get the girl or her mother before he left. It was also reported that he went to the same house Friday night and when he could not gain an entrance laid down and went to sleep on the porch.

Captain Duncan Matheson of tho San Francisco office force, accompanied by Mrs. Lester Dorman, wife of the wounded officer, and the mother of the officer, arrived here with a party of friends on the late train from San Francisco, Sunday evening and hurried to the county jail, where the captain had a conference with H. M. Boyes, acting head of the office, after which he accompanied Mrs. Dorman and her friends to the Mary Jesse hospital, arriving there shortly before 9 o’clock.


When Captain Matheson was taken to the room of the wounded officer he greeted the officer encouragingly. Dorman appeared to rally slightly and recognize Matheson with a weak smile. When his wife stepped to his side he showed he recognized her, but was not able to speak so as to be heard. Within half an hour the end had come. Larry Jackson, a brother of Detective Jackson, was the first one from San Francisco to arrive at the county Jail after the shooting. He was completely broken up but bore up bravely, He was taken to the morgue as soon as possible where the body of his brother had been removed from the hospital.

When taken into the presence of the body he fell on his knees and wept like a child, repeatedly kissing the dead face, and crying out, “Oh, Brother, My Brother,” time and again as he continued to weep. Those who accompanied him wept silently in sympathy.


Ransome Petray, oldest son of the sheriff, came to the county jail Sunday afternoon about 5 o’clock to meet his father, something he frequently did since coming to Santa Rosa to reside. He was surprised to see the crowd and learned the sad news from those gathered there. He broke completely, and deputies led him to a private room.

Word was telephoned to Edward Petray of Healdsburg, brother of the Sheriff, and Frank Petray, another brother, came to town and visited the jail with a party of friends. Later they visited the morgue, where the body of their brother had been removed from the hospital.


Ed Faught, chief of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Police force, and Nick and Jahil Yeager, came to Santa Rosa from Sausalito on the night train and remained over night to see the prisoners, so as to be able to identify them in the future if necessity arises.

As news of the tragedy spread like wildfire throughout the county the deputies reported by phone, and many made haste to reach Santa Rosa. Among those who visited the jail were… and many others.


District Attorney George W. Hoyle at one o’clock Monday morning, having concluded the work of taking statements from all the persons who could be found whom had any knowledge of the shooting, said:

“From the best information available I believe that Sergeant Dorman was the first man shot, while Sheriff Petray went down next. Sergeant Jackson had undoubtedly stepped from the room into the kitchen, either to call the officers on guard, or to get an opportunity from door or window to get his man. Hearing the cry from Sergeant Dorman, “Oh Miles,” he must have turned and stepped to the door to receive the bullet which killed him, and as he fell fired the shot which hit Boyd. As two chambers of his revolver were empty he must have fired two shots before he became unconscious.

The news of the tragedy created a sensation in San Francisco, and the newspapers hurried a staff of writers and photographers by auto to Santa Rosa as soon as their local representatives began getting the story on the wires. Representatives of The Associated Press, The Examiner, The Chronicle, The Call and The Bulletin arrived in rapid succession and remained over night to handle further details today.

Dr. A. B. Herrick and Dr. R. M. Bonar were among the doctors at the Mary Jesse hospital who attended the wounded men on their arrival there.

– Press Democrat, December 6 1920





SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 7. News that Mrs. Dorothy Quinlan had been arrested by the police in Santa Rosa, Sunday, upon being found with the Howard street gangsters who murdered officers attempting to capture them, came as a great surprise to the persons who had known her at the Essex Hotel, Ellis and Larkin streets, where she was living, and those who were acquainted with her at the department store where she bad worked for about two years.

Mrs. Quinlan is the mother of two children, a girl 14 years old, who attends school, and a boy, 15, who works. Last evening the children had received no word from their mother, who is being held in Santa Rosa. Friends of the mother have taken the girl to their home. Both children lived with their mother at her apartments in the Essex hotel.

Mrs. Quinlan is a woman about 40 years of age, and at the hotel where she has lived for more than eight months was known as a quiet, respectable person, who went to and from her work with great regularity, and did not go out often and seldom had any callers. She was liked by all who knew her.

– Press Democrat, December 8 1920


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