|Death: ||Oct. 20, 1926|
Willows Daily Journal, Thursday, 21 October 1926, Page 1, Columns 6 & 7:
MILLSAPS MAN SHOT AND KILLED AS GUN
George Leslie Cooper, 26 year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Cooper, was shot and killed by what is believed to have been the accidental discharge of a rifle on the Cooper ranch near Millsaps late last night.
The tragedy occurred shortly after Cooperís return from Willows, where he had accompanied his mother on a shopping trip. On reaching home, according to the account given by Mrs. Cooper, the youth went out to the barn at the back of the house. Worried by his failure to return to the dwelling, the mother went out to the barn to look for her son. She arrived at the barn door just in time to hear a shot. The woman was appalled, a few seconds later to see her boy, blood running from a gaping wound in his chest, stagger toward her and sink to the floor at her feet, dead.
Panic-stricken, Mrs. Cooper ran to the house and summoned help. Deputy Coroner Goodwin was immediately sent for, and after an exhaustive investigation expressed the opinion that the shooting had been entirely accidental. Piecing together the various threads of evidence indicated by the position of the body, the nature of the wound and the story of the mother, the probable circumstances of the accident were reconstructed by Goodwin as follows:
Trigger Catches: Gun Goes Off
It was young Cooperís custom to keep his rifle, which was a 30-30 Winchester, in a rack in the barn. The top of the rack was almost on a level with the manís chest. It is believed that Cooper, in taking the rifle from the rack, grasped the muzzle and pulled the rifle over the edge of the rack with the muzzle pointing into his chest. The theory is that the trigger became caught and the gun went off.
The bullet penetrated above the heart at the left side of the chest and emerged on the right side below the right arm. Dr. C. W. Lund of Willows who examined the body declared that it would have been a physical impossibility for Cooper to have committed suicide under the circumstances as indicated.
An inquest will be held this evening at the Cooper home. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, at the residence.
According to the young manís parents, the youth was to have gone into partnership with his father in the operation of the farm within the next few days. In fact, the three had discussed this matter the night before the tragedy. Ė Transcribed by M.
Willows Daily Journal, Friday, 22 October 1926, Page 1, Column 3:
Cooper Death Accidental is Juryís Decision
George Leslie Cooper, 20-year old Millsaps youth, came to his death by an accidental gunshot wound, a coronerís jury decided last evening at an inquest at the young manís home.
Only 3 witnesses were called. They were Miss E. Westcott, a school teacher residing at the Cooper home, A. C. Millsaps and Mrs. Lewis Cooper, the mother of the deceased.
Miss Westcott and the grief-stricken mother told how they were startled late Wednesday evening to hear a shot from the barn. They dashed out to the outer building just in time to see the mortally wounded boy stagger toward them and drop to their feet. He uttered not a word, according to the women.
The testimony showed that Cooper had been using his rifle during the day for shooting hawks and other predatory birds. It was believed that he had gone to the barn to get the rifle and bring it to the house when the tragedy occurred. All evidence tended to show that the shooting had been accidental, and that the gun had gone off when the hammer became caught while Cooper was attempting to pull the fire-arm from the rack.
The witnesses testified that when Cooper collapsed he fell on top of the rifle, which he was still clutching. Transcribed by M.
Thursday, 21 October 1926, Page 1, Columns 6 & 7:
BIG CROWD AT COOPER RITES
The respect in which young George Leslie Cooper, of Millsaps, was held by the citizens of that section of the county was demonstrated yesterday by the large crowd of relatives and friends who attended the funeral of the youth. Cooper was filled Wednesday evening by the accidental discharge of a gun.
Rev. J.C. Garth of Willows officiated at the services. Vocal selections were given by Mrs. Fred Cushman, Mrs. Roy Lucas and Mrs. Ancil Burrows. The rites were held at the home of the deceased. - Transcribed by E.
Created by: A Canon
Record added: Feb 23, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 18036078