May 17, 1927
Druggist W.G. Ferrel, manager of the store at Windward and Ocean Front, was not pleased with the quality of work performed by Negro janitor Claude "Happy" Douglas, and so he took a moment this morning to rebuke his employee of six years for latest poor mop job.
"Happy" must have had a bad night, for instead of shuffling his feet and "yessir"-ing the boss man in the time-honored tradition, he pulled out a huge blade and stabbed Ferrel in the back. The metal bent against bone, and "Happy" pulled it out again, twisted and useless.
Then he made a run for the door, but he obviously hadn’t noticed Patrolman French, who was in the telephone booth. Hearing the commotion, French stepped out with revolver drawn and stopped the would-be slayer at the scene. Farrel was rushed to Loamshire Hospital, Santa Monica, in serious condition, and "Happy" held on charges of attempted murder.
Of course, all this might have been avoided, had Farrel checked his employee’s references. For "Happy" is almost certainly the same Claude Douglas, then 30, who in July 1920 savagely assaulted his employer Mrs. Emma Davy, manageress of the Atlas Hotel at 10th and Figueroa, when she discovered him in the basement with a cache of stolen fabric from the Patsy Frock and Romper Company next door. Mrs. Davy, whose shoulder was dislocated, eye injured and arm sprained, was only saved by the intervention of her adult sons George and Allen, who held Douglas until police arrived. Later, in Douglas’ rooms at 1326 East Fourteenth Street, they found a great quantity of good stolen from the Atlas.
Mrs. Davy seems to have taken this as a sign, and in October leased the Atlas to the YWCA, which transformed it into a dormatory for transient women, at which point "Happy" might have wished he’d controlled his temper.