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Brutal Constable Shoots a Woman
Submitted by: Chada


Guthrie Daily Leader
Friday, May 23, 1899, Page 1

Damnable Outrage Committed by an Officer of the Law
Miss Ella Arnold Shot down in the home of her sister by Constable Prudens,
Who attempted to execute a levy
Miss Ella Arnold, aged 20 years, who up til recently has been clerking in Hetsch's shoe store, was shot down in the parlor at the home of her sister, Mrs. David Hetsch, on Cleveland and Elm at 10 o'clock this morning, by Henry Purdens, a constable attached to Justice Faulkner's court, in Guthrie township.
One shot was fired, the ball, a 45 calibre, striking the young woman just below the collar bone and plunging through or near the upper lobe of the left lung. The bullet went clean through the body,and after the shooting was picked up and found to be smooth and bearing no ragged edges.
After shooting Miss Arnold and while she was in the act of falling, Prudens grabbed her near the throat, and dragged her out of the house over the porch and onto the walk leading to the street. Then becoming frightened at his dastardly work, he relaxed his grasp and with his two companions precipitately fled. A half hour later Prudens was captured by Sheriff Frank Rinehart and lodged in the county jail.
Sheriff Rinehart caused extra guards to be placed at the jail. In the event of the death of the young woman a trial of the constable fiend may be necessary, as feeling runs rather high over the outrage.
The trouble occurred while Purdens was attempting to arrest Mrs. Hetsch without a warrant and serve an attachment on her goods.
There are several versions of the trouble which led up to the shooting: Justice Faulkner gives one account, Prudens another, Constable Ed Laws another and Mr. Hetsch another, but none of these excuses, palliate or extenuate the crime itself committed by Prudens.
According to the story of Mr. and Mrs. Hetsch, several creditors of Mr. Hetsch became alarmed when he transferred his shoe business to M. W. McDonald, they fearing he would fail to liquidate accounts outstanding. Mr. Hetsch, However, says he was paying off his creditors as rapidly as possible, of course, having a few preferred creditors. Among these creditors was the shoe firm of Whittradge & Harmon of Boston, which held a claim of $72.70 against Hetsch for stock bought. Mr. Hetsch claims that this firm attempted to attach his house hold goods for payment of this debt.
Yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock an attachment was issued by Justice Henry Faulkner, also a writ of garnishment. The attachment was in favor of Whittredge & Harmon, of Boston, for shoes bought to the amount of $72.70. The writ of garnishment was for the recovery of money, amount not stated, belonging to Hetsch and in the hands of M. W. McDonald.
Justice Faulkner placed these papers in the hands of constable Ed Laws for immediate service. Laws having other business, turned the papers over to Constable Prudens of Guthrie township, who went to the home of Mr. Hetsch at five o'clock yesterday evening. Mrs. Hetsch was alone in the house. Upon going to the door she was confronted by Prudens who said, insultingly: "Woman, you are under arrest! I want you to sign this redelivery bond." " You have no right to arrest me," said Mrs. Hetch, "you have no warrant, What is the trouble." Prudens parleyed with Mrs. Hetsch several minutes, when she finally closed the door in his face. Prudens left.
This morning Prudens, armed with the same papers, and accompanied by George Martin and George Decker, drove to the Hetch home in a dray. Mr. Hetsch was down town, and Mrs. Hetsch was talking to her sister Miss Ella Arnold who had come in a few minutes before. Miss Ella Arnold and her sister, Miss Mary Arnold, stenographer for H. H. Hagan, lives with their father, I. B. Arnold, at 324 East Oklahoma Avenue. Mr. Arnold is a farmer. Miss Ella has been sick for several weeks and had recovered sufficiently to move about.
When Prudens and his assistants knocked at the Hetsch home this morning Hrs. Hetsch and Miss Arnold were in the parlor. They answered the summons of Prudens. "You may consider yourself under arrest." said Prudens: "I have come to levy on these goods." With this he flourished his writ and attempted to push open the screen. Prudens is a big, powerful, burly man, and he had a big 45 Colt's strapped about his waist.
"Come on fellows," said Prudens, "and take out these goods."
"You cannot come in here, gentlemen," said Mrs. Hetsch. "You have no right to take out my goods. Go to Mr. Hetsch."
"Well, I don't propose to be balked by petticoats," said Prudens, "and I am going to have them goods." And with that he attempted to push open the screen. It failing to yield he kicked the screen vigorously and began swearing. The women were thoroughly frightened and Miss Ella Arnold began crying. Mrs. Hetsch attempted to close the door and as she did so Prudens whipped out his gun and pushed in the screen.
As Prudens placed his foot on the threshold of the door, Miss Ella Arnold turned aside and reached for Mrs. Hetsch's pistol lying on the table. Prudens had covered her with his revolver, and Mrs. Hetch jumped behind the wall as one of the other men pointed a gun at her. Prudens anticipated Miss Arnold's movement as she reached for the pistol on the table, and exclaiming "no you don't," fired one shot. Miss Arnold reeled. As she was falling, Prudens stepped into the parlor and grabbing her near the throat, so Mrs. Hetsch says, dragged the now unconscious young woman over the porch and onto the walk. Mrs. Hetsch screamed, and Prudens, becoming alarmed released his grasp and with his companions hurried away.
Neighbors rushed in and Miss Arnold was carried into the house and Dr.Hiatt summoned. He found that the ball had gone clean through the body just above the heart, probably puncturing the upper portion of the lung. So far as the doctor was able to ascertain no bones were struck or arteries cut. The girl was unconscious. Later today Dr. Hiatt said that, while the wound was very dangerous, it was not necessarily fatal, and she may recover. However, the shock and the fact that the young woman has been ill may militate against her.
An excited crowd surrounded the house after the shooting, and indications over the outrage ran high.
Prudens was arrested by Sheriff Rinehart half an hour after the shooting. Justice Faulkner was also arrested by Officer Shoner. Faulkner said he simply issued the papers as directed and then went to the county. He was released.
At 12 o'clock George Martin and George Decker were arrested by Sheriff Rinehart and Deputy Carpenter. As yet it cannot be determined which one of these men covered Mrs. Hetsch with a gun while Purdens shot Miss. Arnold.
Justice Faulkner was considerably excited over the shooting. "That man Prudens is irresponsible," said he, "and I have said so several times. Last January J. E. Freeman came in and asked to be released as Prudens' bondsman, saying that Prudens was irresponsible. The statement that I told the officers to get the goods at any cost is false.."
After the shooting it was claimed that Mr. Hetsch was deeply involved, and that several creditors' petitions had been filed in district court; that he transferred his stock to Mr. McDonald to escape the worry of creditors, and that he was packing up his household goods preparatory to moving to St. Louis, which caused the constables to take summary action. Outside of the fact that one creditor's petition has been filed in district court, all these stories are basely false. The fact that the Hetsch home is in order shows that no attempt had been made to pack up household goods. Mr. Hetsch is one of the best known business men in Guthrie. He has always been careful and painstaking and what can be called a model citizen. These false stories do not lessen the enormity of Purdens' crime.
Decker and Martin, who were with Prudens when the shooting occurred, were reticent. They said they were simply carrying out the orders of Prudens and that no blame attaches to them.
All callers were denied admittance to the county jail, where Prudens is confined. Prudens, it is claimed, says he did not shoot Miss Arnold until she had grabbed the revolver and pointed it at him. Then, fearful of his life, he shot.
At 3 o'clock this afternoon Miss Arnold was resting easy, and her physicians, Drs. Hiatt and Baker, said that, with proper care, she would live.

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