Wounded Man Blows Up Like Balloon, Terrible Injury Causes Weird Effect

March 18, 1907
Los Angeles 

Carlos Perez, an unarmed man shot by an Olvera Street nightwatchman as he walked towards his home on Macy Street last evening, lies tonight in County Hospital, gravely wounded with a bullet puncuring his lung. A gruesome side effect of his injury is that air is seeping beneath his skin, inflating his body like a fleshy balloon. Doctors can press gently on the man’s hands, eyelids and ribcage, causing him to briefly deflate, though he quickly swells up again. 

Dr. Barber, the hospital superintendent, says that he has seen victims who suffer minor inflation around their injuries, but never someone whose entire body becomes so like a balloon. Doctors hesitate to puncture Perez’ skin for fear of introducing an infection, and so the poor man suffers the strange sensation of constant pressure from within. His outlook is uncertain.

Richard D. Birch, nightwatchman for the Merchant’s Fire Dispatch, has given conflicting statements regarding the shooting, and will surely face manslaughter charges should his victim perish.

Below, Olvera Street circa 1890