ARMED, CRAZY, AND FORECLOSED UPON

Not since the misadventures of Joseph Forgett, a drug addict who carried a meat cleaver under his coat, had Sonoma County law enforcement encountered a man as dangerous and (probably) crazy as Edward/Eduardo Bosco.

The Santa Rosa newspapers first introduced us to Mr. Bosco, a middle-aged Italian immigrant, in late 1907, when he was in Sonoma county jail awaiting a sanity hearing. A few days earlier, it seemed, Bosco had an ugly confrontation with deputies at his little farm near Healdsburg. When he refused to open his door, the deputies smashed it in. Eduardo ran to the back of his house locking doors behind him, with the deputies and their battering ram in pursuit. He fled to his basement, where the deputies broke down the door and arrested him, although he was threatening them with an axe. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. An important detail downplayed in those news reports was that Bosco had recently lost his farm to foreclosure.

At his hearings, Bosco said he was defending himself because he didn’t understand at the time why those men were breaking into his house. He was released after two doctors declared him sane, and several character witnesses testified on his behalf. Bosco “claimed that his neighbors bothered him greatly, and intimated that it was desired to have him placed in an asylum so his property could be confiscated.” He sued those neighbors for damages for bringing the complaint against him.

If the story ended there, we might presume that Bosco was the victim of a scheme to steal away his property, and those neighbors were conspiring to boot him out because they held the mortgage or lien on his farm. But the story does not end there.

A few months later, Bosco was discovered back at the farm he no longer owned. He had picked clean the pear trees on the property and sold the crop to a cannery and when a Healdsburg police officer and posse showed up to arrest him, he opened fire with a shotgun. No one was injured, and the police retreated. We next heard of Eduardo Bosco when he was in the Napa county jail about two months later. Now the police were after him for “stopping and molesting” people on the road outside Calistoga. A local cop investigated, and Bosco allegedly pulled out a gun and pressed it against the officer’s chest, pulling the trigger three times. No bullets were fired.

At the end of 1908, courts of Napa and Sonoma counties were squabbling over whether Bosco would be tried for real shotgun blasts at deputies or an empty gun fired at the heart of a cop (UPDATE HERE).

(Note: Eduardo Bosco was apparently unmarried and childless, and no relation to former Congressman Doug Bosco, who was born in Brooklyn.)

BOSCOE INSANE

An insane man, one Boscoe [sic], residing in the vicinity of Healdsburg, is in the county jail awaiting an official examination as to his sanity. He is violent and it became necessary to tightly strap him on his removal to Santa Rosa. His family circumstances are unknown.

– Santa Rosa Republican, November 21, 1907

GIVE OFFICERS EXCITING TIME
Man Barricades Door and Bids Defiance When an Attempt is Made to Serve Eviction Papers

Armed with a writ from the Superior Court to put Orselo Silva in possession of some land near Healdsburg, Deputy Sheriffs Ben H. Barnes and Lencioni visited the place Thursday for the purpose of carrying out the order contained in the writ of assistance, and evicted Edward Bosco. They had a lively time.

Some time ago Bosco was believed to be mentally deranged and consequently the officers went about their work carefully, especially when they found that the man had shut himself up in his cabin and barricaded the door and that he probably had a double barreled Winchester in his possession.

When the officers went to the cabin they were denied admission and Bosco commenced shouting and raised a “rough house” generally. After temporarily pacifying him the writ was read to him, but he still refused to open the door. Finally a battering ram was secured and with Deputy Sheriff Barnes covered the man with his gun which he thrust through the window, Deputy Lencioni broke down the door. Bosco ran to the rear of the house and disappeared through a trap door down into the basement, which is also used as a small winery. The officers removed him from there with difficulty, having to batter down more doors. He was found to have an axe as a weapon of defense. He was taken into Healdsburg and lodged in jail. He will be brought to the county jail and a charge of assault with a deadly weapon will be preferred against him.

– Press Democrat, December 13, 1907
EDWARD BOSCO FACES COURT
Preliminary Examination at Healdsburg Today

Edward Bosco, charged with having resisted an officer, was taken to Healdsburg Saturday morning for his preliminary examination before Justice Charles Raymond. Recently Deputy Sheriff Ben H. Barnes and Constable Henry Lencioni went to Dry Creek valley to arrest Bosco, he barricaded the doors and windows, and resisted arrested [sic] even at the point of a gun.

Attorney William F. Cowan went to represent Bosco at the examination, and the people were represented by Assistant District Attorney George W. Hoyle. Court Reporter Scott recorded the testimony. Bosco was recently before Judge Seawell on a charge of insanity, but was released after an examination by two physicians, who declared the man sane. He claimed that his neighbors bothered him greatly, and intimate that it was desired to have him placed in an asylum so his property could be confiscated.

– Santa Rosa Republican, January 4, 1908

ROPED AND DRAGGED TO THE COUNTY JAIL
Sensational Allegations in a Complaint in a Ten Thousand Dollar Damage Suit Thursday

Charging that he was arrested for insanity, bound by ropes by deputy sheriffs, divested of hat, coat and vest, and taken unceremoniously to the county jail at Santa Rosa at the behest and complaint of Silva Nurrisa and Orsola Nurissa, Edwardo Bosca commenced an action in the Superior Court on Thursday against the aforenamed and asks the court to award him $10,250 for damage done his reputation and name and for the indignities he was forced to suffer as the result of his arrest.

The allegations are set forth in a complaint and the trial promises to present a number of sensational features. William F. Cowan is the attorney for the plaintiff. It will be remembered that Bosca [sic] was evicted from his ranch near Healdsburg some weeks ago.

– Press Democrat, January 31, 1908
ALL EVIDENCE IN; ARGUMENTS TODAY
Trial of Edward Bosco Charged With Resisting Officers Commenced on Thursday

Charged with what the law classes as high misdemeanor, resisting an officer, Eduardo Bosco, who resides near Healdsburg, went to trial before Judge Denny and a jury in the Superior Court on Thursday morning.

Among the bits of evidence offered in support of the complaint that he resisted Deputy Sheriff Henry Lencioni when the latter went with Deputy Sheriff Ben H. Barnes to serve a writ upon him (Bosco) were a hatchet and knife and a whetstone. These articles were admitted in evidence…

…Bosco was called as a witness in his own behalf. Among other things he testified that he did not realize the mission of the officers at the time he resisted them. Several character witnesses were called and at five o’clock both sides rested their case.

– Press Democrat, March 13, 1908

BOSCO SELLS THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT
Man Who Was Dispossessed of Premises Near Healdsburg is Said to Gave Established Himself There Again

From Healdsburg comes word that Edwardo Bosco, a rancher, who lived near there, and who was dispossessed of his place by process of court, is again in trouble, and that Constable Ed Haigh has a warrant for his arrest.

According to the report sent here, Bosco has again gone on the premises from which he was evicted and has entered the house, and installed himself there, and furthermore, has picked the pear crop on the place and sold it to the cannery.

– Press Democrat, August 19, 1908
POSSE EXCHANGES SHOTS WITH RANCHER BOSCO
Constable Tries to Dislodge Man and Is Met With Shotgun Volley

Constable Ed Haight and posse had an encounter with Edwardo Bosco yesterday afternoon in the hills near [Healdsburg], but returned to town without their man. Bosco recently lost his little ranch on foreclosure proceedings, but maintained possession and so far all efforts to depose him have proved futile.

In an effort to get him off the place Constable Haight and posse went to the ranch yesterday, but after firing a shot to scare the old man they were met with a volley from his Winchester and all efforts to dislodge him were unavailing. Some seventeen shots were fired between the posse and Bosco, but none was effective as far as learned.

– San Francisco Call, September 6, 1908
BOSCO NOW UNDER ARREST
Man Wanted Here is in Jail in Napa County

Eduardo Bosco, the eccentric individual who has given the officers of northern Sonoma county considerable trouble, has been arrested in Calistoga. He snapped his rifle three times at an officer there who attempted to arrest him Monday, and he will probably be charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit murder.

Bosco has disturbed the peace of residents of Calistoga and an officer went to arrest him. It was then that Bosco attempted to murder the officer, and had his weapon been loaded he would probably have succeeded. He was taken into custody and landed in the county jail in Napa. There he told Sheriff Dunlap he had been in jail here and that officer communicated with Undersheriff Walter C. Lindsay. The latter informed Dunlap that Bosco was also wanted in this country. Constable Ed Haigh of Healdsburg has a warrant for Bosco’s arrest for stealing fruit from a ranch which he formerly owned and from which he had been ejected. Recently when the constable attempted to arrest Bosco in Healdsburg the latter drew a weapon and the officer also drew a gun. No shooting ensued and Bosco went his way unmolested. He is charged with petit larceny, by the warrant held by Constable Haigh.

Bosco was examined for insanity here at one time and was permitted to have his liberty after the hearing. Later he went to the ranch which he had lost and took fruit from it and disposed of the fruit to a Healdsburg cannery. He will probably be tried at Napa, as the offense there is far more serious than the charge against him here.

The Napa Daily Journal has the following regarding the crime of Bosco and his arrest:

“Early that morning Constable D. E. Powers received word that a strange man, believed to be insane was stationed on a road leading into the up valley town, stopping and molesting all who passed by. Powers went out to investigate, and found Ed Bosco, an Italian, 55 years old, lying by the road side. When he attempted to take the queer acting stranger into custody, Bosco drew a big revolver and pressed it against the officers breast. Three times he pulled the trigger, but the shells refused to explode.

[“]After a hard struggle Powers succeeded in taking the weapon away from the man who would do murder. Bosco was brought here Monday afternoon and lodged in the county jail. He will be taken to Healdsburg, where he is wanted for taking a shot at an officer.”

– Santa Rosa Republican, November 10, 1908

BOSCO LANDED IN THE COUNTY JAIL

Eduardo Bosco of Healdsburg who has given the officers considerable trouble in one way and another recently, was brought to the county jail last night from Napa, where he had been arrested for his peculiar actions towards strangers at Calistoga. When the officers went after him Bosco is said to have pulled his rifle on them and to have snapped the trigger several times before it could be taken from him.

There was a warrant out in this county for his arrest. Bosco was once examined for his sanity here, has been displaced from the farm where he resided, and resisted when officers went to take him off the second time. His appearance at Napa was a surprise here.

– Press Democrat, November 11, 1908

Read More

SUMMER SHOOTOUT

Sounds of summer night, Santa Rosa 1907: Crickets, someone’s barking dog, lowing of cattle in the stockyard, a freight train whistle, the blamma-blamma of two guys shooting away at each other at close range outside a popular downtown restaurant. Note to the next Broadway producer who revives “The Music Man:” Clue us in that most of the respectable citizens in those cute little nostalgic towns usually carried loaded pistols.

In one of the most sensational events of the year, 31 year-old barber Andy Carrillo was out late Friday night and discovered his wife drunk, apparently flirting with another man. Carrillo socked him in the face and drew blood; the man stumbled back into the restaurant. A friend of the bleeding man charged outside and hit Carrillo who drew his pistol, shooting this man in the chest. Carrillo fired a second shot that broke a window and grazed the cheek of Frank Miller, yet another man inside the restaurant. Miller charged outside with his own gun drawn. He and Carrillo fired at each other at point blank range, but mirabile dictu, neither of them were wounded, and the man shot in the chest was not seriously injured. Carrillo fled with Miller still firing away. Police arrived and began searching for Carrillo, who they found hiding in his bed as if nothing were amiss.

Carrillo was out the next day on $1,000 bail, which was paid in part by saloon man Jake Luppold. It was decided he would appear in Superior Court on charges of assault with a deadly weapon. His wife Jennie, meanwhile, was sentenced to 30 days in jail “as a result of being drunk the night in question.”

When the case came to trial, no details were disputed except that the man allegedly hit in the face by Carrillo testified “he was not certain who had struck him.” But after three ballots the jury could not decide on guilt, although the votes always leaned heavily towards acquittal.

Why Carrillo was able to shoot someone in the chest yet even not be found guilty of assault is a mystery. Also odd is that his wife served a month in jail for drunkenness, while the usual sentence at the time was 10-14 days. Another woman arrested for public drunkenness paid $5.00 and no jail time, according to the October 29 Republican, and a man arrested the same day was sentenced to five days in jail because he could not pay the $5 fine.

FIGHT DUEL AT EARLY HOUR ON THIRD STREET
Andy Carrillo Engages in Desperate Battle
W. N. Hall Shot in Breast and Frank Miller in Face During Melee Resulting From Attack on Charles Majors

Andy Carrillo who had just shot W. N. Hall fought a pistol duel in front of the Campi restaurant [on Third street, near the corner of B -ed.] shortly before one o’clock this morning with Frank Miller. Both men marvelously escaped injury and although Carrillo escaped from the scene quickly and hid at home he was captured by Officers Yeager and Lindley and locked up in the county jail within half an hour.

There had been a banquet in progress at the Campi, which about 45 members of the Bricklayers and Plasterers’ Union were attending. Mrs. Jennie Carrillo, who was under the influence of liquor, had been hanging about the place trying to interest some of the men without result. Finally Charles Majors went out to go home, but discovered that his wheel had been stolen. He reported the loss to the men inside and returned to the walk. Mrs. Carrillo was talking to him when her husband came around the corner and seeing them together walked up and struck Majors a brutal blow in the face, laying open a great gash in his cheek.

Majors rushed back into the restaurant with blood streaming from his face, and when his companions were told of the assault they rushed out with W. N. Hall in the lead. When Hall reached the sidewalk he was met by Carrillo who he struck for assaulting Majors. Carrillo jumped back, drew his revolver and fired at Hall, the bullet striking him just over and dangerously near the heart [then] crashed through the window in the restaurant, imbedding itself in the wall. Hall jumped behind a tree and the others not being armed rushed back. Carrillo fired another shot which passed through the window grazing Frank Miller’s cheek.

Miller, who was back in the restaurant, was forcing his way to the door and in an instant was face to face with Carrillo. Seeing him with a weapon Miller pulled his and the two fired almost instantaneously. That one or both were not hit seems marvelous, as they were right upon one another. Carrillo turned and ran up Third street and Miller again fired at him without effect.

Officer Yeager was standing in front of Germania Hall at the time and rushed to the scene of the shooting at once. Officer Lindley and Skaggs were eating supper in the Boston restaurant and were on the scene within a few moments. Their first effort was to capture Carrillo, and taking the direction of his disappearance a hurried run was made up through First, Second, and Third streets as far as E and back. Then Yeager proposed that Carrillo’s home be examined. He and Officer Lindley went to the house, where after some delay the door was opened. Carrillo was found and placed under arrest and taken to the county jail where he was locked up.

Dr. Jesse was called and arrived on the scene in his auto within a few minutes. He took Majors and Hall to his office where he dressed their wounds. Neither are dangerously injured, but it was a close call for Hall. The bullet struck him a glancing blow which saved his life. He remained at the restaurant for some time after the affair discussing it with other members of the union. Miller’s face was cut by the bullet which narrowly missed ending his life before he left the restaurant.

– Press Democrat, July 28, 1907
CARRILLO IS FACING JURY
Charged With Assault With a Deadly Weapon

Andy Carrillo, charged with assault with a deadly weapon, was brought to trial Wednesday before Judge Emmet Seawell and a jury. The jury is composed of…

…The first witness was Charles W. Majors, who narrated how he had been banged in the face when he started out of the restaurant where the shooting occurred on the night of the alleged offense. Majors declares he was not certain who had struck him. He returned to the restaurant with blood streaming from his face, and this sight broke up the banquet which was being enjoyed there.

Fred Forget, the second witness, testified to being at the banquet. He saw Majors come in covered with blood, and with other rushed out to the front door of the restaurant. Outside the witness saw Andy Carrillo standing with his hands in his pockets. Walter Hall forged ahead of witness and Carrillo raised his hand containing weapon, and with a string of oaths began firing. Hall need no air breaks [sic] to stop the speed at which he was traveling toward Carrillo. He reversed himself quickly and sped into the restaurant. He had walked right out, turned right around and run back in again.

Hall followed Forget in the narrative being give the jury, and his version of the affair tallied exactly with that of Forget.

Officer I. N. Lindley and Chief of Police Fred J. Rushmore testified to the arrest of Carrillo and the finding of the weapon with which the shooting had been done. Rushmore testified the weapon was still warm when he picked it up in Carrillo’s room on First street.

– Santa Rosa Republican, December 11, 1907
THE CARRILLO JURY FAILS TO AGREE
Discharged by Judge Seawell Thursday Night–Stood 10 for Acquittal, 2 for Conviction

The jury in the case of the state against Andy Carrillo failed to reach a unanimous verdict in Judge Seawell’s department of the Superior Court and was discharged by the court in the evening when the jurors had announced that it would be impossible for them to agree.

The first ballot taken by the jurors after they had retired was eight for acquittal and four for conviction. Then it was nine for acquittal and three for conviction. Then it went to ten for acquittal and two for conviction, and this is how the jury hung.

The case went to the jury after arguments by District Attorney Clarence Lea and Attorney T. J. Butts, and the instructions of the court, about half past three. The jurors asked to have certain portions of the testimony read to them, and for this purpose were brought into court twice. When supper time came they were taken to the California Oyster Market for supper, accompanied by Deputy Sheriff Don McIntosh. After supper they returned to court and remained in their room until discharged.

– Press Democrat, December 13, 1907

Read More

SHOT THROUGH THE POCKET

A week after the 1906 Santa Rosa earthquake came first signs that life in the town was slowly returning to normal. Electric lights were (mostly) on at nights, a couple of lovebirds were married, and someone wounded himself with his revolver.

Frequent incidents involving handguns serve to remind that in 1906, the Wild West days really weren’t so long ago, as many men went around town with a pistol in his pants. Nor did the law consider simply packing heat an offense; trouble came only if you fired the gun recklessly (a $5 fine per shot, please) or threatened to shoot someone (or, of course, did). But judging by reports in the papers, the most common use of handguns was to accidentally shoot yourself in the leg.

All of these self-shootings were probably avoidable. For years, Smith & Wesson had offered a “Safety Revolver” that “only the hand of an adult can fire” because of its safety grip, which prevented the trigger from being pulled unless the handle was being squeezed at the same time (a good technical description of how it worked can be found here). Iver Johnson, another large gunsmith, also heavily advertised its “Safety Automatic Revolver” with the claim that it was “the one revolver that cannot go off by accident;” while their gun had no safety lock, the trigger had to be pulled all the way back. Instead, it appears most men carried a snub-nosed “bicycle revolver,” of the sort shown in the magazine ad seen here. These were cheap, small, and easily concealed, no small consideration for men wearing jeans or fashionable tight-fitting trousers, such as the fellow seen to the right in this post-earthquake photograph (although that other gentleman might well be hiding a battleship in his ample folds).

While putting a revolver in his pocket on Wednesday night, Attorney A. B. Ware accidentally shot himself in the fleshy part of the leg. The wound is a superficial one and not dangerous. The trigger caught and caused the accident…

– Democrat-Republican, April 26, 1906
PARIS DREW BIG REVOLVER
Gets Arrested and Puts Up Cash Bail

Angelo Paris drew a big revolver Sunday evening on L. W. Eberle and was landed in jail for this offense against the peace and dignity of the people. Monday morning he was released on fifty dollars’ cash bail by Justice Atchinson, to appear in court next Saturday to explain his action.

The troubles between the men occurred over the opening of a door to permit the cool evening air to penetrate the building in which the respective families of the men mentioned reside. As the result of the altercation Paris declared he would fill Eberle full of lead and produced the weapon in sight to carry out the declaration he had made.

Constable Boswell arrested Paris, and escorted him to the station, assisted by Eberle and Officer Lindley. Later Lindley and Boswell searched the premises and found the gun used beneath the bed clothing. The shells had been extracted. Paris put up quite a fight to Boswell and struck the latter before he was subdued.

– Santa Rosa Republican, July 23, 1906

PISTOL WENT OFF WHEN MAN FELL

An unusual accident happened in a little fight on Main street Saturday night. A local man knocked down a party with whom he had some difficulty, and a pistol in the pocket of the man knocked down went off. The parties to the fight both believed that a tragedy had been enacted, the party down at first being convinced that he had been struck from the bullet from his revolver, and the party who did the knocking felt sure he would be called on to answer to a charge of murder. The incident caused no little excitement for a time.

– Santa Rosa Republican, August 13, 1906
COST HIM $5 EACH SHOT FROM REVOLVER

M. Davis, a brickmason, was arrested Saturday by Officer McIntosh, and fined $10 by City Recorder Bagley for firing his pistol from the scaffolding of the brick buildings on Fourth street. He was under the influence of liquor and mounting the scaffolding where men were at work began to celebrate by firing his revolver. He fired two shots and was forced to pay $5 for each shot.

– Santa Rosa Republican, September 4, 1906

Read More