Kansas City Star/January 6, 1918
John M. Tully and Albert Raithel, revenue officers from St. Louis, may die, and two city detectives narrowly escaped injury as a result of a revolver battle yesterday through a case of mistaken identity.
Tully and Raithel had gone to raid a house at 2743 Mercier street, reported to be a rendezvous for drug users. Edward Kritser and Paul Conrad, city detectives, arrived a few minutes later on the same mission. Each party of officers mistook the other for drug peddlers.
Tully was shot in the right leg, left arm and lower abdomen. Raithel was wounded in the abdomen and left wrist. Both will recover. The two detectives were uninjured, but both had bullet holes through their clothing.
The wounded men were taken to the General Hospital. Later they were removed to the Swedish Hospital.
While on the surface the shooting of the two government officers appeared to be a case of mistaken identity, elements of a mysterious nature which Francis M. Wilson, United States district attorney, refused to make public, crept into the case last night.
At 11 o’clock last night the district attorney took a statement from Tully. He said he could not disclose its contents. It was admitted by another government official there was “something back of the whole affair.”
It was said all of the evidence with regard to the shooting and developments leading to the affair will be placed before Hunt C. Moore, prosecutor. Senator Wilson said the government would co-operate with the prosecutor. The district attorney conferred two hours last night with Chief Flahive and John Halpin, police commissioner. At the close Senator Wilson said he felt certain the prosecuting attorney would do his duty in the case.
Tully gave this story of the shooting:
“Raithel and I received information that there was a nest of drug addicts at a house at 2743 Mercier Street. We secured a search warrant from S.O. Hargis, assistant United States district attorney, and went out. In the house was an old woman. We questioned her and could learn nothing, so left to watch the house and question a few of the neighbors. We were standing across the street when a motor car drove up and two men and a girl got out. One of the men carried a handbag. Raithel and I thought they were ‘dope heads.’ I went to the front door and Raithel to the rear. Inside the door I saw Bernie Lamar’s girl. She said, ‘Hello Jack.’ Then a man stepped out of the next room. I walked up to him and touched him on the shoulder, saying, ‘Hold on a minute, I’m an officer.’ Then he started shooting. He got me in the arm. I shot twice and then got out the door. I got across the street and fell in front of a house. Then the other man shot me again. I emptied my revolver and then staggered over to a garage across the road.”
Raithel was operated on as soon as he was taken to the hospital and was unable to make a statement.
The two detectives told a different story. According to them the battle was the culmination of a feud between a gang of drug addicts and government agents.
About seven months ago Bernard Abe, a notorious police character, was sent to the Fort Leavenworth prison for drug peddling. John Tully had secured the evidence that convicted Aberer. His wife, Rose Aberer, alias Rose Fuqua, known as Rose Lamar, has been living here with a man named William “Irish” Rogers, also a drug addict and holder of a police record. When Tully arrested Aberer the government secured a large quantity of narcotics. Lately the federal officials here have been trailing Rose Fuqua, trying to locate the rest of the big supply of drugs which she was believed to have hidden. Two special agents were sent from the St. Louis office to aid in the work.
Friday night Rose Fuqua and Williams were shadowed to the Stratford Hotel, 616 East Eighth Street, where they registered as Mr. and Mrs. William Sullivan. Yesterday the revenue office obtained two detectives from police headquarters to aid in raiding the room at the Stratford. Kritser and Conrad were assigned. Rose, a man named Richard C. Adams, and Rogers were arrested in the room and a quantity of narcotics found. The woman confessed to the government agents that the missing drugs were hidden in her mother’s home at 2743 Mercier Street. The city detectives took her and Rodgers out to the address.
Conrad and Kritzer found a sack containing a quantity of heroin, morphine, opium and two complete “hop smoking” outfits hidden in the house. Conrad says he was talking to Rose Fuqua in the front room of the 5-room frame house when he heard a knock on the door. A man entered. The woman said, “Hello, Jack, how are you?” Conrad said in a sworn statement.
“I concluded from the familiar way he spoke to her that he was a member of the gang,” the detective said. “The man turned to me and said ‘Who are you?’ reached for his revolver and reached for my shoulder. I drew my revolver and fired twice. He shot at me three times. One bullet went through my coat, another grazed the side of my face. My shot struck him and he reeled out of the front door. Another man (Raithel) shot at me through the window. I fired three times and then went behind a door to reload my gun.
“I heard someone shooting in the rear of the house and saw Kritser shooting at a man across the street. I stepped around and exchanged shots with a man shooting from behind a grocery wagon. I thought we were fighting a gang of dope fiends and rushed to the next house on the north, firing as I went. Kritser and I both shot at a man firing across the street. The small man dropped. Someone yelled, ‘They’re government men.’ We stopped firing. Neither one of them said anything about being officers to me.”
Kritser’s story and that told by Rose Fuqua agreed with Conrad’s. Rose Fuqua and Rogers escaped in the fight, but later gave themselves up.
Buddie, a dog owned by Rogers, was shot in the leg and is being taken care of by a neighbor. Adams, Rogers, and Rose Fuqua are being held at police headquarters for investigation.
(Source: Matthew J. Buruccoli: Ernest Hemingway, Cub Reporter. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1970.)