Tho sound of a pistol shot awoke the echoes around the Union depot last night just after tho Santa Fe was steaming away after the mail agent had thrown out the transfer mail bags. The train is due here at five minutes past eleven o'clock and stops only a few minutes at this depot. The shot was fired by E.K. Slaven, the United States mail transfer man whose business it is to attend to all the mail bags transferred to and from the different roads at this point. In the dim light of the pistol flash the bystanders on the platform saw a man stagger and fall about halfway between the Texas and Pacific express offices.
In a few seconds a crowd of men had surrounded the fallen man who was gasping in the throws of death with a bullet through his brain. The victim was a young mulatto negro apparently about twenty-two years old. The circumstances which led to the shooting are as follows: When the Santa Fe train moved into the depot, Slaven went to get a truck which he had placed In readiness to load the mail bags on to bring them into the baggage room for proper distribution. When he got to the truck the negro was lying on It and Slaven asked him to get up. The negro refused and Slaven caught hold of the handles and pushed the truck some distance down the platform. The mail is thrown from the train some fifty yards north of the baggage room and in this direction he pushed the truck.
When about half way down the platform and between the two express offices he again ordered the negro to get up and the negro made no reply. Slaven then said something to the negro who rose to his feet as Slaven advanced towards him. He cursed Slaven and ran his hand in his bosom as though to draw a weapon of some kind. At this Slaven drew his six-shooter and fired at the negro standing only a few feet away from him.
The ball entered the negro's forehead just above the left eye, pressed through the brain and came out just above the right ear. He staggered back one or two steps and fell without uttering a word. Dr. Slauter was summoned and pronounced the wound fatal and thought the man would not live until 12 o'clock. No one knew the victim's name but a colored porter who handles baggage at the depot says his face is a familiar one; that he is well known in this city as a gambler among the colored people and that he believed his first name was Bill. Examination of the victim's head by Dr. Slauter showed marks as though two bullets had entered the forehead as the brains were protruding from two distinct apertures, but the bystanders and those who heard it say only one shot was fired.
W.E. Howard and George Slaven, who were eyewitnesses to the shooting made the following statement to a Gazette reporter: We were standing close to the men when the shooting occurred, and heard Slaven ask the negro to get off the track. The negro refused to do so and Slaven stopped the truck and let it fall on the platform. As he did this the negro raised up and said "You G-- d--- s-- of a b---- and ran his hand in his bosom as though to draw a pistol. Slaven raised his hand and we saw a flash, heard the shot, and saw the negro fall. There were a number of people on the platform close to us. " After lying where he had fallen for some time the negro was moved out of the way of passing trucks, still gasping for breath. He had on a dark suit of clothes, specked shirt, new shoes and a large while hat with a small black band and red cord around it. There was nothing on his person to indicate who he was or where he lived. Mr. William H. Sparrow, baggage-master at the Union depot, says that Slaven has been working for him for some time; that he is quiet and inoffensive in his habits and he could hardly believe it when he heard that Slaven had done the shooting; that he is about twenty-three years of ago; and liked by all who know him. As soon as the shooting occurred Officer William Richmond arrested Slaven and brought him up to the city hall but subsequently took his prisoner back to the depot to stand guard over him until this morning when the inquest will be held.
Forth Worth (Texas) Gazette, December 2, 1883.