December 19, 1887
DIED FOR HER MOTHER.
A Fiend Kills One of His Daughters and
Fatally Wounds Another.
ERIE, Pa., Dec. 19.—No crime of violence committed in this city during the last half century has created such a sensation as the shooting of Minnie and Annie Schau by their father, Christian Schau, at noon yesterday. The murderer is a tailor, perhaps fifty years old, and long ago earned the reputation of being a brutal husband and a dangerous member of the community. The two daughters, aged twenty-one and twenty-two, have lived at home, assisting Schau in his work, and despite their lack of advantages, have grown to be pretty, intelligent and virtuous women, holding the warm friendship of many and the esteem of all.
Yesterday morning Schau, who has been drinking for a fortnight past, abused one of the daughters shamefully for reading a newspaper which had been given her. At the dinner table he renewed his abusive treatment, when his wife drove him wild by interceding for the unoffending girl. He seized Mrs. Schau by the throat and threatened to shoot her. The poor woman, desperate at his long continued brutality, bade him do his worst, saying she had nothing to fear, as death would be preferable to the life she had lived so long. Minnie, the eldest daughter, interfered, begging for mercy for the mother.
“Spare her, father! Oh, spare her!” she cried, but the drunken brute felled his wife senseless with a blow, drew a pistol and sent a 32-calibre bullet through Minnie’s heart, killing her instantly. Spurning the dead body with his foot, he sprang to the door of an adjoining room, where the younger daughter, Annie, had taken refuge, and snarling an imprecation, discharged the pistol point blank at her breast. The bullet struck an inch and a half below the heart, shattered a rib, deflected and missed the vital organ, lodging near the spine. She fell, and he snapped the self-acting pistol at her again as she lay apparently dead. Then he fled from the house towards the high bluffs on the lake front.
A telephone message brought an officer to the scene of the shooting, and he began the pursuit of Schau and brought him to bay at the top of a bluff. The murderer drew a pistol and ordered the officer to stand back, but the plucky patrolman advanced. Schau fired on him at a distance of six paces and missed. The next instant the men were engaged in a fierce struggle, the officer holding Schau’s pistol hand, and then, plying his club, knocked him senseless. Schau was handcuffed and taken to the station-house.
Annie Schau is still living, but has no chance for recovery. Her ante-mortem statement was taken detailing the circumstances of the shooting substantially as given above. Schau was arraigned last evening and committed for a hearing next Wednesday. He pleads not guilty, and says the girls took the pistol from him and accidentally shot themselves.
From the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair
(The 1887 Morbid Scrapbook)