To quote the front page article describing the event in the March 21st Daily World Newspaper, "Some four hours after the opening scenes of the tragedy, Tait who had held the entire force at bay for that time, put the climax to the most terrible 'gun' affray in the annals of crime in Vancouver by blowing his brains out with a shotgun." The lurid headlines of the four city papers, the Vancouver Sun, the Daily News Advertiser, the Vancouver Daily World, and the Vancouver Province verged on the hysterical. (Remember you can enlarge the images by clicking on them).
The tragic event and the subsequent trial of Bob Tait's girlfriend Frankie Russell--who miraculously survived the firefight--were a newspaper seller's dream. The sensationalism and overt racism of the articles may surprize some, but remember this was a Vancouver in the throes of the Great War... a city that only seven years prior had a mob of thousands of its upstanding white citizens rampage through Vancouver's Chinatown and attempt to attack Japantown. Seven years after that riot A Japanese coal carrier, the Komagata Maru, with 376 Indian would-be immigrants aboard was refused permission to dock and after months of tense standoff was later forced to return to Asia with its frustrated human cargo.
In all the articles in the books I read about this event, the story was always told from this perspective... from the outside... it was black and white... The tragedy was that of the death of the heroic police chief, killed in the line of duty, and the death of an innocent eight year-old boy, killed while crossing the street to buy candy...
Besides my usual binder of archival photos, I will have copies of the newspaper articles shown in this blog and articles from three other newspapers of the day. I will focus on the Vancouver and the East End of 1917.