Schaefer, Joan (Died on 06 Aug 1939)
appeared in Wilmette Life (Wilmette, Illinois), 10 Aug 1939, p. 5

Full Text
Girl Is Shot Through Head; Recovery seen
Neighbor Admits Firing Rifle at Squirrel at Time of Accident; Released on Bond

Joan Schaefer, 9 years old, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Al M. Schaefer, 1501 Washington avenue, was shot through the head at 6 o’clock Sunday evening, as she was playing with other children in an automobile parked across the street from her home. The bullet entered above and in front of the left ear, passed through a part of the brain, and lodged in the skull at the right ear. She was removed by her parents to the office of Dr. H. 0. Wishaar, and then to Evanston hospital where an x-ray picture revealed the cause of the wound. and gave the location of the bullet.

Recovery Probable
Examination showed that the child, who was unconscious, had been paralyzed in one arm and the opposite leg. As the hours and days passed, however, she regained consciousness at times, and the paralysis disappeared. Reports Wednesday were to the effect that she was resting comfortably, had recognized members of her family, and that hopes are entertained for her recovery. The accident, which for a day and a half mystified the family and the police, occurred as the victim, with her younger sister and another child, was playing in the automobile. Joan was in the driver’s seat, in a kneeling position, leaning over the steering wheel. Suddenly she slumped down in the seat, screaming. Her sister ran into the house and told her parents that Joan was sick. Hurrying to the car, Mr. Schaefer picked the child up and carried her into the house and called the physician.

Canvass Neighborhood
Where the shot came from was not known until 11 o’clock Tuesday morning. On Monday night Chief of Police Cloyd CMcGuire had put his entire force of day and night officers, augmented by twelve reserves, six from the Chamber of Commerce and six from the American Legion, on a canvass of the surrounding neighborhood in search of 22-calibre rifles, that being the type of gun from which the shot was fired. A number of such rifles were found and taken to the police department for examination. Among other homes approached was that of Edward Heinzen, 1515 Washington avenue, next door to the home of the victim. However, none of the Heinzen family was at home, and it was not until 11:45 Monday evening that there was a response to a telephone call by Chief McGuire. Then the Chief and Sergeant Arthur Hawkinson went to the home and interviewed Edward Heinzen and his son, Peter Heinzen, 38 years old. They yielded possession of a 22-calibre rifle, asserting that it was the only gun in the house. On Tuesday forenoon, however, Chief McGuire received information that the Heinzens had borrowed a rifle of that type from Eugene Mueller, 1602 Spencer Avenue, and still had It in their possession. Police Sergeant Herman G. Vance and Officer William Schmidt were detailed to go to the Heinzen home and get the gun. Upon their arrival Peter Heinzen gave them the rifle, and stated that he was getting ready to take it to the police station and explain that he had fired a shot from it just before the time the Schaefer child was wounded. The officers took him to the police station, and there he made a detailed confession of having tired a shot, but not that he had wounded the child. The highlights

Shooting at Squirrel
He stated that he had seen a squirrel in the yard, and had stood on the rear steps of the house and fired at it as it was on the ground near a bush, the general direction of his aim being northeast. The shot missing, he entered the basement through an outside door, left the rifle there and went upstairs where the family were preparing to eat dinner. He said that he sat down at the table and had placed food upon his plate when he heard a child screaming. With others he went to the window to see what had happened, and stated that his sister’s little daughter had gone to the scene of the accident, returning with the information that the Schaefer child was sick. Following dinner, he stated that he had left his home and did not return until almost midnight, and did not know until that time when Chief McGuire came to the house, and told him, that the child had been shot.

Used Borrowed Gun
His slience in regard to the firing of the gun, he explained was due to his disinclination to cause troule for Eugene Mueller, from whom the gun was borrowed. However, he added, rumors which he had heard to the effect that another person was suspected and would probably be placed under arrest, impelled him to state his part in the regrettable incident. Peter Heinzen was arrested on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, and placed under $5,000 bond, which was furnished by his father. Further legal developments must await the outcome of the unfortunate accident. The crisis in the condition of the victim is expected by Friday night.

Media Type:
Genealogical Resource
Item Types:
Cont. p.35
Date of Publication:
10 Aug 1939
Date Of Event:
06 Aug 1939
Last Name(s):
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 42.07225 Longitude: -87.72284
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Schaefer, Joan (Died on 06 Aug 1939)