Walla Walla County law enforcement arrested three Weston men after a 1952 shooting spree that left at least 15 cats dead and frightened a Milton-Freewater farmer.
Charges of illegal possession of a weapon and contributing to the delinquency of a minor were leveled against 29-year-old Edward Peterson, 19-year-old Ralph Mitchell and 22-year-old Benny Van Winkle, all residents of the tiny burg of Weston. The trio and a juvenile male began their spree outside Milton-Freewater the evening of April 2, 1952, and an unidentified farmer reported the men shot at him from their vehicle and then fled. The gun-totin’ Weston contingent then took their show to the outskirts of southeast Walla Walla, where most of the cats met their untimely end.
Walla Walla deputy sheriff Leonard Krika said a car passed him as he was traveling east on Pleasant Street in Walla Walla about 1 a.m. on April 3, and he heard a gun shot. He had to fire two shots at the vehicle to get the car to stop, and found the four men inside. Van Winkle attempted to flee on foot but fell while climbing over a fence. Walla Walla city police captured Van Winkle, who was transported to the hospital for treatment for a dislocated shoulder.
Milton-Freewater police aided in the investigation after the farmer identified the car as the one carrying the men who shot at him.