Officer C.A. May, End of Watch

Feb. 3, 1907
Los Angeles

About 1 a.m. on a dark corner at East Adams and South San Pedro, the hard, shabby life of William Ross ended when he said, “What in hell are you fellows up to?,” drew a pistol and shot plainclothes Officer C.A. May.

May and his partner, J.M. Hoover, were walking east on Adams when they encountered Ross, described as a “rather roughly dressed man.” Earlier in the evening, Hoover and May, who were working plainclothes as part of a crackdown on burglaries in the area, investigated an incident at 223 E. Jefferson Blvd., where L.C. Kelker had reported that two men were on his front porch.

The officers warned the two men to leave, but did not arrest them as there appeared to be no criminal intent, The Times says. One of the men started into the house, threatening to get a gun and “do” the officers, but May and Hoover left without taking any action.

Later that evening, May and Hoover encountered Ross and suspected he might have been one of the men they encountered outside Kelker’s home. May threw back his coat to reveal his badge and said: “We want to know who you are and what you are doing here at this time of night.”

Ross said: “What in hell are you fellows up to? My name is Ross and I live just around the corner.” Then he stepped back, drew a pistol and shot May in the shoulder or the chest.

He fired at Hoover, who ducked and shot Ross in the forehead.

Police found some papers on Ross’ body, a little money and newspaper clippings from the Herald, one about a suicide attempt by Mrs. Mary Ross of 383 or 583 Central Ave. over domestic problems and a legal notice of Mrs. Mary Ross suing William Ross for divorce.

May was taken to Clara Barton Hospital, where he initially showed progress, although doctors were unable to locate the bullet.

Investigators eventually found Ross’ room at the Good Samaritan Mission, a homeless shelter at Ord Street and San Fernando near the Plaza, but there were no stolen items or any other evidence that he had been committing burglaries. Police also learned that he had been employed at one time at Pacific Carriage Works, 122 S. San Pedro.

May was sent home to 2139½ S. Los Angeles St. to recover, but the wound became infected and he returned to the hospital. Doctors were unable to locate the bullet and May died Feb. 28, 1907, with his wife and two brothers at his side.

The Times says he “expressed remorse that it had been necessary for the officers to shoot the man, but he said it was a case of kill or be killed.”

As a National Guard member and a veteran who had served in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, May was given military honors in a funeral at Pierce Bros. Mortuary at Flower and 8th Street. A funeral procession consisting of police officers and National Guard troops escorted his casket to 1st Street and Spring, where they boarded streetcars for the interment at Evergreen Cemetery.

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The Packing Padrone

May 8, 1907
Long Beach

The Padrone must run a tight ship. Juan Acosta is a Padrone. He has a shotgun.

Just east of the city, at the Bixby Ranch, he discharged four men from one of his tents for reasons unmentioned. These gentlemen returned before daybreak and one of them, a Juan Diaz, stabbed a sleeping Acosta through the arm, and then stuck him in the breastbone and forehead. Acosta still managed to grab his shotgun and unload onto Diaz’ abdomen at point-blank range.

El Padrone’s brother managed to tackle and hogtie another assailant, one Luciano Morro, who was found bound at the entrance of the tent by local Marshals. The two others, Mssrs. Bartello and Rodriquez, now have warrants out for their arrest.

Padrone Acosta is expected to pull through. The outlook for Diaz is not as rosy.

They Ain’t Buying It

May 7, 1907
Los Angeles

Jesse C. Cowd, of 187 South Broadway, told cops he was shot in the groin in the rear toilet-room of the Southern Hotel saloon at Market and Main…when an unidentified stranger dropped a revolver and it discharged on the floor. Cops don’t buy the story–the trail of blood leads from the cigar stand in front of the saloon where there had been a quarrel over a dice game. Despite there having been a large crowd at the time, there were, of course, no witnesses.