On June 28, 1947, publication of "The Lady Takes an Interest." The New Yorker. The Time Element and Other Stories. Gibbsville, PA.

The "lady" is Mrs. Hooker, widow of Bob Hooker, owner, editor and publisher of Gibbsville's newspaper the Standard. Mrs. Hooker suggested to managing editor Doug Campbell that a memorial fund be established for police sergeant Ray Hoffner, who Mrs. Hooker believes was killed in the line of duty. Doug Campbell gently explains that such was not the case.

"He had gone off duty shortly after two o'clock A.M., and had paid his nightly visit to a house on Railway Avenue which since had been closed. The house is what we call in the paper a house of "ill repute." Shortly after four o'clock Patrolmen Wilkes and Velusky, on duty in the prowl car in the western end of town, received an order to go at once to the house on Railway Avenue to investigate the firing of shots. There they found Sergeant Hoffner, who had been drinking. He had emptied his revolver while taking target practice at a row of beer bottles. He was not in a belligerent mood and when the woman proprietor of the house assured the officers that he could pass the night there to "sleep it off," the officers relieved Hoffner of his revolver and departed. About an hour later, however, Wilkes and Velusky received a message to look for Hoffner, who had left the house in search of the prowl car in order to retrieve his revolver. He now was in a belligerent mood and before leaving had threatened and struck several of the inmates. In spite of the severely cold weather he left without his cap and overcoat."

(Police eventually found Hoffner a mile and a half away, sleeping in a cemetery. He was taken to the hospital, where he died from  pneumonia three days later. Hardly a death in the line of duty).
I plan to post next on July 1st.

Robert Saliba

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