A sad and unforeseen occurrence marred what was in other respects the finest Labor Day carnival the good people of Walpole have yet given. Fred L. Jenks, lately of Millis, shot and seriously injured Charles M. Maier of Norwood and then shot himself. The cause of the shooting was disappointment in love, and it was the third case of the kind which has occurred in this vicinity since March last.

Fred L. Jenks, in ill health and suffering from an unrequited affection, came to Walpole Sunday night and seemed unusually despondent. On Monday he seemed worse and was apparently somewhat under tire influence of liquor. He is said to have told a friend to be sure and come to Blackburn Park on that day as he was going to do some shooting that would astonish people. So it did, as the event proved.

It was about noon and the ball game between the Norwoods and Hyde Parks was on. So was a clambake dinner. There were 2000 or 3000 people on the grounds, and at least 1000 of these were watching the ball game. Into this crowd of 1000 people walked Fred L. Jenks. He approached a float which was gaily decorated in white, red and yellow favors. A fairly tall and very attractive blonde young lady, named Myra Belle Spear, daughter of George P. Spear, tax collector of the town, was among the bevy of girls in the float. She was clad in white and yellow, and was selling velvet candy and actively crying her wares. She was, report says, Jenks’ former sweetheart. Jenks asked her to go to dinner with him. Sho refused. Jenks then said: “If you don’t go with me I will kill myself,” and began flourishing a .38-calibre revolver. Miss Spear then said, “Oh, I hate you!” and fled into the woods.

John B. Rooney, president of the carnival, attempted to withstand the wild-eyed man with a revolver. “Stand back,” cried Jenks, “I am a dead shot.” Then Charles M. Maier of Norwood, u prominent member of Nahatan Tribe, I. O. R. M., did a brave but desperate deed for the safety of a crowd in which women and children formed the vast majority. He sprang upon Jenks and attempted to knock him down. Jenks turned upon him and shot him twice in the side, one wound being a few inches below the heart, the other near the spine. Jenks then shot himself in the side, inflicting one wound, not now considered serious.

There was intense excitement in the crowd; women fainted, and men made a rush upon Jenks and wanted to lynch him. He was taken out of their hands and carried in a hack to the town hall, where he was attended by a local physician. Lawyer J. J. Feely was taking dinner with a party of friends when the shooting occurred, but rushed from the tent and accompanied Jenks to the hall, where he induced him to make a declaration that he intended to kill Miss Spear. Jenks was subsequently taken to the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Jenks was conscious after the shooting and called continually for Miss Spear. They had formerly kept company for two years or more, but the intimacy had been broken off. Miss Spear is a popular lady, of good family and respectable character. She is teacher of music in a school in Worcester. Jenks is a machinist and served in the navy in the Spanish War. He is about 34 years of age.

Maier’s act of reckless courage disarmed a lazy wretch and perhaps saved many lives. Maier is well-known in Norwood, where bis ¡Kt of undaunted courage wins unstinted praise. Jenks is considered a naturally good fellow, but is very hot-tempered. Though not a habitual drinker he is apt to be very wild when under the influence of drink. Both men will probably recover. Jenks will probably have to face a court on the charge of assault with intent to kill.

(All articles originally published in the Norwood Messenger)

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