Salt Lake Tribune

12 January 1914

Front Page and page 3









Another Shooting by Holdups

  Follows Closely on Dou-

    ble Tragedy of Satur-

        day Night.







Officers Follow in Vain Trail

  of Blood From Morrison

    Store South for Sev-

     eral Blocks.



Governor William Spry an-

nounced last evening that he would

issue a proclamation today offer-

ing a reward of $3500 for informa-

tion leading to the arrest and con-

viction of the two holdups who

murdered John G. Morrison and his

son John A. Morrison, in the Mor-

rison grocery store at 778 South

West Temple street, Saturday




That a murderous gang of holdups is making this city its rendezvous is the belief of Chief of Police Grant and other police officers of Salt Lake.  While members of the police and a number of deputy sheriffs were hunting for the murderers of John G. Morrison and his son, John A. Morrison, who were killed in their grocery store at 778 South West Temple street, another holdup in which the victim was shot by one of two men, occurred on Eighth South near Sixth West street.  The victim was Oran Anderson, 19 Years of age, a laborer, who was held up by two men, shot through the left arm and robbed of $11.60.


Blood on Handkerchief.

            Marks of blood noticed on a handkerchief taken from W. J. Williams who was arrested early Sunday morning in connection with the Morrison murder, further convince the police that Williams had a part in the murders.  When Williams was searched Sunday morning at the police station the marks of blood passed observation, but in examining Williams’s possessions again last night the blood marks wee noticed.

            Williams was arrested when he was found walking by himself near First West street and Tenth South shortly after the murder had been committed.  He said he roomed at the Salvation Army rooming house in Orpheum avenue and he could give no reason for being in the southwest part of the city at 11:30 o’clock at night.  Inquiry made at the Salvation Army rooming house yesterday revealed the fact that Williams was not known there at all.

            Williams is held in the city jail.  He refused to make any statements to the officers yesterday. The search by the police for Frank Z. Wilson still continues.  Wilson was recently an inmate of the state prison and has been arrested frequently on burglary charges.  After an absence from Salt Lake of several weeks he was known to have returned a few days ago.  The police believe he may know something of the murders. 

            The description of the men who held Anderson up does not tally with the description of the men who murdered Morrison and his son. The police are still of the belief that one of the men who murdered Morrison is perhaps seriously wounded and safely hiding within the city limits.


Bandits Are Masked.

            Anderson, according to this story, was held up on Eighth South street near Sixth West.  He said two masked men of the same height approached him, ordering him to put up his hands.  When he refused to immediately obey their command, he said, they fired at him at close range.  One bullet pierced his left arm directly below the elbow. Anderson said $11.60 was taken from him, after which the men fled.  They ran east to Fifth West street, he said, after which he was unable to trace them. 

            Anderson walked to the emergency hospital at the police station, arriving there about forty-five minutes after he had been shot. The wound was dressed by Dr. H. R. Sprague and from the size of the hole in Anderson’s arm it was thought the lead was from a .38-caliber shell.  When asked why he had not reported the holdup to the police sooner,  Anderson said he was unable to get to a phone and that he had not a cent left after being robbed.

            Inspector Carl A. Carlson gave An-


(Continued on Page Three)






(Continued from Page One.)



derson a rigid examination to learn if possible if he knew anything of the Morrison murder.  It was thought that Anderson might possible have been the man wounded in the battle in Morrison’s grocery store Saturday night.  This theory was dispelled, however, after an examination of Anderson’s wound revealed that it had recently been inflicted.  After the police officers were satisfied Anderson would not be needed in connection with the Morrison murder he was released.  Anderson is a laborer.  He said he roomed and boarded with the family of Jens Jensen at 811 West Eighth South street.


Search So Far Vain. 

            The search which was carried on throughout the city and county of Salt Lake yesterday by more than forty officers of the police department and several representatives of the sheriff’s office failed to reveal a substantial clew to the whereabouts of the murderers of John G. and John A. Morrison.  Bloody tracks which were discovered late Saturday night and which were traced from in front of the Morrison grocery store at 778 South West Temple street in a ditch near the corner of Twelfth South and First West street and near the Denver & Rio Grande railroad tracks, furnished the only clew upon which the officers could work.

            The tracks led from the Morrison grocery store north on West Temple street in the Mitchell Van & Storage company at 273 South West Temple street.  From there they were traced west to First West street and thence south to Twelfth South street.  From Twelfth South street the tracks led across a ditch to the railroad tracks of the Denver and Rio Grande. The police believed yesterday morning from fresh boot tracks in the side of the ditch that the wounded person had bathed his wounds with water from the ditch.  It is also believed by the police that the murderers have been unable to get very far away.  They entertain the thought that the men are possibly in hiding in the neighborhood of Twelfth South and First West streets and that perhaps they forced some resident of the neighborhood to give them refuge.


Traces of Camp.

            Near the ditch at Twelfth South street which the murderers are supposed to have crossed were found ashes smoldering from a recent fire.  The police made a thorough search of the railroad yards of warehouses and other buildings in the vicinity of Twelfth South street where it was thought the murderers might have possibly sought a hiding place.  Early yesterday morning a complete search was made in Murray and Midvale for the murderers.  Men from the sheriff’s office are guarding all outside points in an effort to check the bandits if they should attempt to leave the county.


Believe Wound Serious.

            From the blood left on the trail which went north on West Temple street to Third South street, thence west to First West and thence south to Twelfth South, the police think the murderer was seriously wounded and that it will be only a matter of a short time till he will be forced to give himself up. 


Former Sheriff Helping.

            When seen at her home, 877 South First West street, last night Mrs. Morrison was bearing up remarkably under the strain of her terrible and sudden bereavement.  Former Sheriff Jesse Harmon of Utah county, a friend of the family, arrived yesterday from Provo to help the stricken family and will assist them and the police in any way he can to run down the murderers.

            “I cannot understand why any man could have such a grudge against my husband as to cause him to do that,” said Mrs. Morrison in commenting upon the tragedy.  Mrs. Morrison said that she knew of no one of whom her husband had spoken as an enemy who might be dangerous.  Se recalled the holdups in which her husband had been, but said her husband had never considered himself seriously endangered for his part in protecting himself. 





Boy Recalls Tragedy.

            Merlin Randolph Morrison, the only living witness to the shooting, the 11 year old son of Mrs. Morrison vividly recalled the scenes which have burned themselves into his mind to remain for a lifetime. Occasionally as he spoke he would rub his eyes as if to blot out the memory of those awful moments that took from him a father and a brother.  For a Tribune reporter he took a photo of the interior of his father’s store and described the shooting.  The photograph is published in this edition of the Tribune.  The boy said:

            The men rushed in the front door and ran to a point about opposite the scales on the left-hand counter, there as he pointed at the pictures.  Father had just gone behind the glass showcases on the right side, through the aisle, there at the middle of the store.  Brother was back there at the end of the counter on the right-hand side and I was in the back of the store at that door you see there. 


Cried “We’ve Got You!”

            Of course  [still in the boy’s words], when the men rushed in we all turned to see who they were.  Without giving my father a moments warning the first one rushed to a point about opposite the scales there and yelled: “We’ve got you now.”  The shots followed.  It was all so sudden that it is hard to remember.

            As father fell my brother turned around to the shelf by the icebox which is at he end of the left-hand counter.  There was a revolver there and he picked it up. He certainly was brave, for he ran up to where the scales are and shot.  I think the bullet hit one man.  They wheeled and fired at my brother three times.  He fell right there by the scales back of the counter. 

            The men realized, I guess, what a noise they had made, for they didn’t stop, but rushed right out again.  I saw them turn south toward the corner and other people saw them run into the alley running north and south between Eighth and Ninth South in the block just west of West Temple.




Intent Upon Revenge.

            [Still in the boy’s words] I am sure that the men didn’t mean to rob the store because one of them said as he rushed in: “We’ve got you now.”  And then he fired.  It must have been revenge. I stepped behind some shelves down there in the back of the store when they began shooting to protect myself, but I kept my head out far enough to see it all. 

            The plucky lad was silent for a time then, and his recital of the tragic events cast a momentary pall of silence of the house. 

            “Clearly the men knew Morrison well,” said Former Sheriff Harmon.  “The fact that they didn’t hesitate a moment of say a word other than “We’ve got you now,” would indicate that they had known their victim.”

            Funeral arrangements have mot been completed, although there will be a double funeral some time Wednesday.  The arrangements will be completed today after several relatives out of the city have been heard from. 

            John G. Morrison was a member of the local police force a little more than nine months.  He joined the force January 22, 1906, and resigned to take active charge of the grocery business October 31, 1906.  He was known by his friends for his thrift.  It is said he leaves an estate valued close to $20,000.  This includes, according to the report, the property on which his residence is built and other real estate in the city.






Special to the Tribune.

            PARK CITY, Jan. 11.  Although he has not been given a definite description of the murderers of John G. Morrison and son, who were shot to death by holdups in Salt Lake City Saturday night, Chief of Police Charles Mair is keeping a close lookout for the men.  The chief and his assistants make a thorough search of the city this afternoon, but found no one to whom suspicion attached. 







            Joe Woods, 21 years of age, and O. Christensen, also 21 years of age, suspected of the shooting of John G. Morrison and his son, may be wanted in Prescott, Ariz., according to Chief of Police Charles Mair of Park City.  The men were arrested as they were attempting to leave Salt Lake on a freight train. 

            They were taken into custody by Patrolmen Crosby, Henderson and Coltan.  They denied having had any part in the murder of Morrison, but are being held until all suspicion can be lifted from them.  The men tally in every respect with the description furnished by Chief Mair. They are said to be wanted for the robbery of a Chinese in Prescott, who was held up and robbed on October 21, 1912 of more than $300.

            The description gives Woods as being almost 22 years of age, five feet four in height, of about 135 pounds and smooth shaven. The name of Christensen is not given on the description, but it describes a man of about the same height, age and weight as Christensen.