Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pendleton teen shoots classmate after school party

A 15-year-old ninth-grader at Pendleton Junior High School shot a classmate after a school dance in May 1950.

John Raymond Meyer was a transfer student from the Chicago area attending school in Pendleton. He attended a dance party at the junior high school on May 26 and another student, 15-year-old Ted Kinder, noticed that Meyer was carrying a gun. Kinder suggested that Meyer get rid of the weapon, and another student later saw the young man trying to hide it behind a piano.

The party ended at 11:30 p.m. and everyone left the building but teacher Carl Kligel and about 20 students who were on the cleanup crew. Kinder went to the lavatory, and a little later came upstairs and collapsed into a chair, telling Kligel, "I've been shot." He was rushed to St. Anthony Hospital, where doctors found the bullet had missed all Kinder's bones and internal organs.

Kinder was interviewed by Police Chief Charles Lemon in the hospital, and recounted that he was in the lavatory when Meyer entered playing with the gun. Kinder again urged Meyer to put the weapon away, and Meyer left the room but returned a moment later, pointed the gun at Kinder and said, "All right, Ted, you asked for it." He then shot Kinder once in the right side of the chest and fled.

Police immediately started a search for Meyer, and found him lying on the floorboard in the back of a car belonging to his brother, James Meyer, with whom he was living. The pistol was found shoved between the back seat cushions.

After his arrest, Meyer admitted to the shooting and also to a theft at Hamley & Co. the previous evening. Taken during the heist were four jackets, a wrist watch, a pair of gloves, a suitcase and $4 in cash, in addition to the .32 caliber pistol used in Kinder's assault. He had also stolen a bicycle in a separate theft. Chief Lemons said that Meyer was on parole for a house burglary in Chicago, and had only lived in Pendleton for about three weeks.

Meyer pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon on June 6. He claimed during his trial he did not know the gun was loaded. He was remanded to the Umatilla County juvenile court, and sentenced to the Woodburn training school (now the McLaren Youth Correctional Facility).

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