A quarrel, alcohol, and gun lead to murder

Rhonda Chalfant - Contributing Columnist

Early in the morning hours of Monday, Oct. 4, 1927, a man drove to the Sedalia Police Station to bring a severely injured man in to report a crime. The injured man, Andrew Thompson, was the 26 year old son of Mrs. G. C. McClure, who lived at 316 West Sixth Street. He worked as a chauffeur for Epstein and Block, who managed a wholesale distribution company that sold candy and soft drinks.

Night Police Chief J.C. Connor told the man to take Thompson to the city hospital at 640 East Thirteenth Street. The trip to the hospital was delayed somewhat, as the car refused to start and had to be pushed a block along Second Street from Osage Avenue to Ohio Avenue before it would start. Connor alerted the hospital and called Dr. J. E. Mitchell.

When Thompson arrived at the hospital, Mitchell took charge of his care. The Sedalia Capital reported that Thompson had been shot twice. One bullet punctured his small intestine seven times. The other bullet entered his back while he was trying to run from the shooter.

Because of the severity of the wounds, Mitchell called Dr. W. G. Jones and Dr. John Carlisle to assist in Thompson’s care. They were unable to save him, and he died from his injuries at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5.

Thompson’s mother, a widow, told a reporter that he was a good son who did not drink alcoholic beverages, who held a steady job, and “has been faithful to me since the death of his father.”

The shooter, Ivan McKay, came to the police station shortly after the shooting and turned himself in. Police held him at the city jail pending charges of felonious assault. When told of Thompson’s death, he seemed “dazed,” and kept repeating, “I’m so sorry.” Police changed the pending charge to murder, and McKay was transferred to the Pettis County Jail, where he remained in custody .

McKay was 33. At the time of the shooting, he had been unemployed for about a month. Prior to that, he had worked for William Hanlon at the Sedalia Produce Company at the corner of West Main Street and Kentucky Avenue. Hanlon told reporters that McKay had been a good worker and had never been in trouble before.

McKay had been living with his aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Walton, at 1002 West Broadway Boulevard. Shortly after the shooting, McKay went to their home and told his uncle that he had shot a man. Walton drove McKay to the police station.

Mrs. Walton told reporters that McKay was not drunk when he arrived at their home, but that he had been drinking earlier that evening. She believed that the shooting was done in self-defense because Thompson had knocked him down while trying to take something from him.

A Coroner’s Inquest met on Wednesday and viewed the body. The inquest was to resume on Thursday morning to question witnesses.

Several witnesses had already been interviewed by the local papers and by members of families of both the shooter and the victim. Their stories did not quite agree with one another, nor did they agree with the evidence collected by the police and statements McKay.

Next week’s column continues the tragic and pathetic story of a quarrel over nothing, a bit too much home brew, violent tempers, and a .38 caliber revolver.


Rhonda Chalfant

Contributing Columnist

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