Sunday, March 21, 2010

Emil Kolbe's Shooting Part 1

Success on breaking down one of my minor brick walls!

In my August 25, 2009 blogpost I mentioned that my father in law said that Emil Kolbe was shot during a robbery of his drugstore. No one in the family seemed to recall the date or exact details of the event. I thought that a newspaper article might shed some light on things. So the brick wall became finding a newspaper article (if one existed). But in order to do that I would obviously need at least the approximate date of the shooting.

On September 5, 2009, I interviewed Emil's son, Carl, now age 92. He recalled that the shooting happened when he was in the 6th or 7th grade. He was on stage at Holy Redeemer parish for some type of celebration (75th?). Someone told him his dad had been shot. The details were as follows: Emil was alone in the drugstore and two men came in and held him up. Emil's hands were up and he saw someone go by outside and hollered for help. The robber not holding the gun said, “Shoot the son of a bitch”. So the gunman shot Emil in his open mouth and the bullet came out through his cheek. Carl believes it was the left cheek. Carl believes the police came and that there was an article in the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Carl still has the program from the Holy Redeemer event.

Dr. Rieg who lived next door cared for the bullet wound. According to Uncle Carl, "Dr. Rieg cleaned the wound with "a stick with cotton on the end of it and it would come through the hole." Apparently this shooting led to a scar tissue growth in Emil's mouth that may have interfered with his breathing; he was known to be a heavy snorer and he had apnea.

***Note: Upon reviewing the 1920 census for the Kolbe Family (see September 8, 2009 blog post), there was a Dr. J. F. Rieg two doors down.

Next: Emil Kolbe's Shooting Part 2 - Finding the shooting date!

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