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Shickshinny Police Chief Fatally Shot in 1918

Shickshinny Police Chief Ray Curwood entered the Mountain Inn hotel on W Union Street searching for William Beach Faulds on February 5, 1918

Curwood, 28,  a life long resident of Shickshinny, who was the manager of the town'a baseball team and fire fighter, became aware Faulds had purchased a revolver and was intending to harm his own family.

When Curwood approached Faulds he was shot twice suffering gunshot wounds to his chest and right thigh.

Curwood was rushed to the Nanticoke State Hospital where he died from his injuries on October 12, 1918.

"Chief of Police Ray Curwood was shot and perhaps fatally wounded last night at 6:30 pm by William Bruce Faulds, aged 30, also of Shickshinny, while trying to force Faulds to surrender the revolver with which, it is said, he had threatened to shoot a relative with whom he had quarreled." the Wilkes Barre Record reported February 6, 1918.

Those inside the hotel made no effort to restrain Faulds who escaped.

"Posses were organized and spent many hours, suffering excruciatingly from the cold, in a thorough search of the borough and adjoining woods." the Record reported. 

Two county detectives hurried to Shickshinny in a vehicle machine and  telegraphs were sent to all police departments in Luzerne and Columbia counties spreading the alarm. Police in Wilkes Barre were put on alert as Faulds spent time in the Diamond City where he was known to hang out at pools halls on East Market Street

Faulds was captured six miles below Shickshinny walking along the DL&W railroad tracks towards Berwick by two county detectives and 3 State Police about 11 am February 6, 1918.

"They quickly surrounded him and with drawn revolvers forced him to surrender and give up the gun and a box of cartridges which he carried" theRecord reported of Fauld's capture.


Faulds spent the night in a barn but he told the lawmen he was not able to sleep due to the cold. After his capture, Faulds admitted to shooting Curwood.

The Record printed Fauld's admission to shooting Curwood on February 7, 1918.

"When the chief came towards  me I told him to keep away. He came over and took hold of me so I pushed him away with my left hand and gave it to him with my right. He has no business bothering me." Faulds told the lawmen

After the shooting, Faulds said he visited aanother hotel and had a glass of beer before finding a barn to spend the night.

Faulds' trial began June 18, 1918. His admission to the lawmen on Febriary 7, 1918, was read to the jury.

Faulds was discribed as being a difficult defendant who ignored his attorney and often smirked at the jury.

James Larish, who was tending bar at the Mountatin Inn  Hotel, told the jury Faulds entered and asked for a small glass of beer. Faulds leaned against the bar when Chief Curwood entered the barroom,

" The chief asked for the gun and when he took hold of Fauld's arm, the latter backed away and fired four shots. He then hurried from the bar and got away." Larish told the jury,  as published in the Record.

After Curwood suffered the gunshot wounds, he yelled out "Boys, My God, he got me!"

The trial was an easy one to prosecute as the jury convicted Faulds of first degree murder announcing the verdict at 10:30pm on June 19, 1918.

"Faulds sat in a fixed attitude as the jurors filed out and appeared like a statute in despair" reported the Record

Faulds was taken back to his jail cell and only asked for tobacco. He would later be sentenced to death.

Death came quick for Faulds, who died at the county jail Oct. 13, 1918. His death certificate says he died from tuberculosis. 

A tribute honoring Curwood is on the Officer Down Memorial page.

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