Tuesday, July 05, 2005


In the apartment where this boy Willie lived with great-aunt, and on the roof of the building, the police found "two .22-caliber rifles, a high-powered .22-caliber target pistol, ammunition for all three guns, and a quantity of ammunition for a Luger pistol." This served as sufficient reason to arrest and hold the boy's great-aunt on a Sullivan Law charge (for possession of a gun). She was not released until the boy, who was held in custody all during this time, had signed a confession stating that he had owned and fired a .45-caliber pistol—which, incidentally, was never found. In court the judge stated, "We cannot find you guilty, but I believe you to be guilty." With this statement he sentenced Willie to an indeterminate sentence in the state reformatory.

For the public the case was closed. The authorities had looked for the cause of the extraordinary event, which might have affected anyone in the crowd, in one little boy and took it out on him, along with a public slap at his aunt. They ignored the fact that other random shooting by juveniles has been going on in this as in other sections of the city. Only a few days after the Polo Grounds shooting, a passenger on a Third Avenue elevated train was wounded by a shot that came through the window. But with Willie under lock and key, the community felt that its conscience was clear.