Ghost Sniper Seen! Fires on 2 Girls, Bullet is Found

Ghost Sniper - AI Stock Photo

Camden Courier-Post – January 28, 1928

See Man Fleeing After Missile Crashes Through Window of Home

“It’s All Right Louie” He Cries on Street

Crowded Merchantville Trolley Fired on But No Pellet is Found

Camden’s “phantom sniper” has been seen.

The man who had terrorized occupants of motorbuses, drivers of automobiles and residents of homes upon which he has fired during the last two months is no ghost, but a man of flesh and blood.

He is tall, fleet of foot, and he knows a man named “Louie.”

This at least is the description given to Camden police today by two young girls, who escaped the “ghost gunner’s” latest bullets this morning.

The girls were asleep in their bedroom, in the Centerville section, when the “sniper’s” shot sped through their window.

A short time before a bullet-like missile had crashed through the window of a Public Service trolley car, bringing the total number of occasions on which the “phantom” has appeared to 11.

The girls, through the window whose bedroom a bullet sped at 4:45 o’clock this morning are the Misses Redempta and Jean Napier, 25 and 20 years old respectively, daughter so Peter Napier, former Camden Prohibition agent, who is now in the south.

Jean, youngest of the sisters, is a former Camden High School student and widely known as a participant in amateur theatricals here and in Philadelphia.

That incident marked the tenth occasion on which the sniper has fired upon vehicles in Camden and the fourth attack he has made this week. He fired a bullet through the windshield of a Pennjersey bus on the Camden side of the Delaware River Bridge, struck a bridge policeman with a large marble fired from a slingshot or powerful air compression gun, and fired a shot through the store window of Gottlob Mayer, Twenty-seventh Street and Hayes Avenue as his activities for the week.

It was no “blue marble” such as that which struck Bridge Policeman John J. Rogers on the Camden bridge a few days ago that crashed through the Napier girls window. It was a leaden bullet. This latest appearance of the “ghost gunner” is notable for the fact that the bullet was found. Only in the first of the cases in which former State Senator Albert S. Woodruff was fired upon in his automobile has the bullet fired by the “phantom” been discovered afterward.

The bullet which entered the girls’ room was of.32 caliber. It penetrated the glass of the window, boring a hole about an inch in diameter. It struck a curtain at the window, which acted as a buffer and the bullet fell to the floor.

Aroused by the breaking glass, Redempta and Jean leaped from bed and ran to the window.

“We saw a man with a gun, standing across the street,” the former said today. “He was looking up at our window. As we looked, he broke into a run. He reached the corner and I heard him say to another man: “It’s all right now, Louie.”

City Detective Frank Truax was assigned by Camden police to investigate the latest appearance of the “phantom sniper.” The leaden bullet found on the floor of the girl’s bedroom was turned over to him.

Meanwhile, several agencies began investigations of the “phantom’s” firing upon a trolley car this morning.

The mysterious shooting by the “ghost gunner” at the trolley car this morning, marked the tenth occasion which the “sniper” has fired upon vehicles and the fourth attack he has made this week. He fired a bullet through the windshield of a Pennjersey bus in the Camden side of the Delaware river bridge, struck a bridge policeman with a large marble fired from a slingshot or powerful air compression gun, and fired a shot through the store window of Gottlob Mayer, Twenty-seventh Street and Hayes Avenue as his activities for the week.

The motorman, George Washkruz, of 1114 Louis Street, and the passengers heard the bullet crash through the front window of the trolley car. A clean hole larger then pencil showed where the bullet had pierced the window. No report of a gun was heard and police believe the shot was fired by an English compressed air gun.

United States Commissioner Wynn Armstrong was a passenger on the trolley when the bullet tore through the window. He was on his way from his home in Merchantville to his office at Third and Market Streets in Camden.

“A short time before,” Commissioner Armstrong said,” a coupe driven by a woman skidded and crashed into our trolley car as it was passing Morris Street. Naturally the passengers were excited about the accident. Luckily no one was injured.

“The car was proceeding again toward Camden when suddenly there was a loud “ping” and we saw the motorman jump. He stopped the car and looked at the window. There was a bullet hole in the window but we searched the car but were unable to find the bullet or where it had lodged after entering the car.

“We looked all around outside the car but was unable to see any person who might have fired the shot. We heard no report of a rifle or revolver accompanying the crash of the bullet.”

When Washkruz reached the Market Street ferries, he reported the occurrence to the police. Several policemen hurried to the scene and reached the neighborhood but found no trace of the sniper. As in nearly all the other cases the bullet was fired from a southerly direction.

“I didn’t know what happened,” Washkruz said. “I heard the bullet strike the window and I heard it sing as it passed by my head and go into the Interior of the car. I saw no one who might have fired the shot.’

George Rothery, manager of the southern division of the Public Service Transportation Company, said the company would start an investigation independent of that being made by the police in an effort to capture the sniper. The attack marks the first time a trolley car has been fired upon during the sniper’s reign of terror.

Captain of Detectives John Golden said police would start a campaign to capture the fiend who Is endangering the lives of citizens.

“We have received no report so far from the Public Service about the sniper’s activities this morning,” Captain Golden said, “but I will detail several plain clothes men immediately to run down this half-wit and take him into custody before he kills somebody.”

Chief of Police Linderman of Merchantvllle, said he would make an investigation into the shooting.


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