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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Children with Guns

Ten-year-old Walter Byrley, grandson of Mr. and Mrs. James Byrley 1711 Fourteenth street, was fatally wounded when he was shot by his 9-year-old playmate.  Walter died at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Indiana at 4 am the next morning on August 15, 1947. 

The shooting was done with a .22 caliber rifle, belonging to the playmate’s stepfather, in his home at 1717 Thirteenth Street Lawrenceville Illinois.   

According to reports made by police, after questioning the nine-year-old playmate, the two lads were playing and had some misunderstanding.  The playmate ordered Walter to go home and when he refused, the playmate grabbed a.22 caliber rifle with which he threatened to shoot Walter. Walter knew that the gun was unloaded and refused to leave. 

The playmate told the officers that he then put a cartridge in the gun and shot Walter.

The bullet entered the right side above the waistline and went entirely through the body emerging from the right side.  The wounded lad walked the block and a half to his grandmother’s home and told her he had been shot. 

The doctor was called and upon examination arranged to have the boy taken to the hospital where a more thorough examination disclosed that the bullet had pierced the liver and that there was little hope for recovery. Walter died about 12 hours after he was shot.

Young Byrley had made his home with his grandmother ever since the death of his mother which occurred while he was an infant. The funeral for young Byrley was held with burial in the Lawrenceville City cemetery.


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