News: Riggs -
Brother Slays Sister & Brother-in-Law
Contact: Allan Wessel
----Source: Greenwood Gleaner, Year Unknown (From Leona Albert Collection)
Brother Slays Sister and Brother-In-Law
A shooting affair at the Ernest Riggs home 7 miles northwest of Greenwood Monday evening resulted in the death of Mrs. Riggs and her husband. Paul Peterson 27, of Fairchild, the dead woman's brother, is charged with the shooting.
The latter became estranged several months ago from his wife, Frances Jones Peterson, to whom he was married, April 3, 1924, at Minneapolis and who has been living at Waukegan with her 2 year-old daughter, June since leaving him. Her brother and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. David Jones, also of Waukegan, who lived for a time in the same house with the Petersons are blamed by Peterson for his wife's action, and this fact is believed to have led to the shooting.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones arrived Sunday to visit at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Riggs, and Peterson evidently became aware of the fact, for when he arrived Monday evening from Fairchild, where he has been employed the past two weeks with a road construction crew, he asked for them.
Told that they had left but were expected soon, he informed his sister that he was leaving to get some beer but would be back immediately. His sister tried to dissuade him, realizing that he was already under the influence of liquor, but he insisted on going. He returned jus as Mr. and Mrs. Jones arrived, and all went in the kitchen. Peterson edged his way toward the pantry, and suddenly pointed a revolver at the family and cried "Stick 'em up, all of you!"
Riggs, who knew that Peterson had previously boasted thathe would "get" Mr. and Mrs. Jones and the latter's sister, shouted at the intoxicated man and made a grab for the gun, which was discharged twice in the fracas, the first bullet penetrating Riggs' stomach and liver and the second shooting Mrs. Riggs through the heart and killing her instantly.
The wounded man, assisted by Jones managed to wrench the weapon from Peterson before it discharged again and handed the gun to his youngest son Wendall, who hid it. No effort was made however to detain Peterson who made his escape in a Chevrolet coach, 1927 model, bearing an Illinois license.
A neighbor Jake Speich was summoned and arrived with several others, but could find no trace of Peterson. Dr. Schulz of Greenwood was called and Sheriff Wm. Bradford was notified of the tragedy. When the doctor arrived he called for the Schiller ambulance and the wounded man was taken to St. Joseph's hospital, Marshfield where several blood transfusions were given.
Mr. Riggs passed away at the hospital at about 9:30 Tuesday evening. The body was taken to the Shiller establishment.
Sheriff Bradford stated that two bullets, jammed in the gon, showed that Peterson had evidently tried to shoot again. The fugitive is described as being of medium height with brown hair, black beard and weighing about 150 pounds. He was dressed in apir of overalls and a blue denim jacket. No trace of him has been found.
Peterson's parents came here Tuesday from Fairchild to offer the Riggs family whatever assistance they could and called at the hospital at Marshfield.
Mrs. Peterson expressed the opinion that her son would never be found alive and declared liquor was responsible for his act.
The Riggs family came here from Alma Center about two years ago and have since resided on what is known as the Henry Thompson farm Northwest of Greenwood. They were quiet people and were well liked thru-out the community.
The body's will be taken to Alma Center today where the funeral services will be held this afternoon at two o'clock from the Methodist church.
Mr. and Mrs. Riggs are survived by four children, Ruby and Elsie, who were married last June to David Jones of Waukegan, Ill and Walter Grottke of Neillsville respectively, and Robert and Wendall at home.
**Written in the margin by Leona Albert** He was found in his brother's corn field a day after the murder and now in the county jail at Neillsville.
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