The Colusa Daily Sun
19 April 1919
Thomas Woods murdered Marshal J.N. Scoggins at about 6:00 p.m. Wednesday night, April 18, at the home of the assassin in the east part of Colusa.
The murder was most deliberate, as is indicated by the finding of the coroner’s jury.
Tom Woods, ex-convict, is at the county hospital in charge of Sheriff C.D. Stanton. He was wounded three times during his fight with the officers, but it is reported that he has a chance to live.
Complaint was made to City Marshal Scoggins and to Deputy Sheriff F.L.Crayton Wednesday evening that Woods was terrorizing the neighborhood, that he had armed himself with a shotgun and was threatening to kill his aged mother and his nephew, Daryl Von Lanon.
Marshal Scoggins, Deputy Sheriff F.L. Crayton, Constable Walter Walker and Constable Tom Roche responded to the call, going to the Woods’ house in Mr. Roche’s automobile.
When the officer’s got to the Wood’s place, the mother and nephew were at the house, but Woods was standing near the barn door with his back turned toward the house. A woman, whose name has not been learned, was standing a short distance from him apparently, talking to him.
Crayton led the way toward the barn, it being his plan to get near enough to grab him before he could no any harm. Woods had been in trouble before and the officers were aware that he was a desperate character.
When Crayton was not more than 20 feet from Woods, he suddenly turned and went into the barn. When the deputy sheriff got to the door, he was in the act of raising a shotgun. He refused to obey the command to drop the gun and Crayton fired with is pistol. The shot took effect in the right forearm, breaking the bone.
Crayton jumped from in front of the door and then fired a second shot at Woods through the barn wall. This shot went amiss, but a third one struck Woods in the right shoulder.
Marshal Scoggins rushed forward to aid the deputy sheriff. Crayton tried to keep him from exposing himself, but he started around the corner of the barn for the open door with his gun in his right hand. Just as his body was exposed enough to make a good target, Woods, who had been hiding behind a partition to the barn, fired the full charge entering the marshal’s breast on the right side.
The wounded man staggered forward and fell just beside Deputy Crayton. Woods evidently had fired the gun with his left hand, the wounds inflicted by Crayton having disabled his right hand.
Crayton undertook to remove Scoggins, but he found this impossible. He could not see Woods, so he got out of range of his gun to await help.
Sheriff C.D. Stanton and a number of citizens arrived on the scene soon after this. Among them was L. Winters, armed with a shotgun. When Winters was about 30 steps from the barn, he saw Woods peering through a crack in a partition. He fired at his head, the charge of shot striking Woods in the eye and on the forehead. He was found a little later lying on the floor of the barn in a pool of blood.
Just as soon as Woods had been shot by Winters, steps were taken to remove Marshal Scoggins to his home. Nothing could be done for him and he expired on the way. The shot had been fired at close range, the muzzle of the gun being not more than a few feet from him when the murderer pulled the trigger.
Woods soon regained consciousness. He made a statement late in the evening to the effect that he was drunk and did not know that he had shot anyone.
The attending physician says that he is badly shot up and it is yet too early to say if he will live. There is always danger of blood poisoning and the time for this will not be over for a few days.
Woods lost the sight of one eye and the shot from Winters’ gun also injured the other, but it is said that there is some vision left in one of his eyes.
At the time of the shooting, it was the general belief that Woods had been fatally injured, but it seems there is some chance for his ultimate recovery.
There was a strong sentiment on Wednesday evening in favor of summary action. The belief that Woods could live only a few hours had much to do with preventing action on the part of the people of the community. Everywhere could be heard the statement that someone should have been there, there was a chance for his recovery.
Sheriff Stanton removed him from the scene of the shooting as soon as he could get his machine to haul him to the county hospital. There he is being guarded and if he does not die from the effects of his wounds, he will be removed to the county jail as soon as he is pronounced out of danger by the doctor.
The death of J.N. Scoggins came as a staggering blow to this community. For 23 years he had served the people of Colusa as a peace officer. He was considered an ideal citizen; a fearless officer and a man who had a sense of justice that made him liked and admired even by those whom he had to punish.
J.N. Scoggins was born on May 7, 1858, near Black, in Yolo County. Had he lived a few weeks longer, he would have been 61 years of age. Practically his entire life’s work was devoted to guarding the lives and the property of the residents of Colusa. Throughout the entire Sacramento Valley he was known as a most efficient peace officer and a man who had no knowledge of fear.
Mr. Scoggins came to Colusa when he was 24 years of age. Here he spent his life among the people who knew him and appreciated his worth. Not only was he valuable in Colusa as a City Marshal, but as a citizen. He was identified with every movement that pertained to the good of the town.
On October 10, 1884, Mr. Scoggins was united in marriage to Miss Addie A. Caswell. His widow and two children, a son and a daughter, Lloyd Scoggins of Portland, Oregon and Mrs. Ralph Schlure of Woodland survive him. Mr. And Mrs. Schlure arrived to the city Wednesday evening and Mr. And Mrs. Lloyd Scoggins will arrive in the morning.
Mr. Scoggins is also survived by two brothers and two sisters. The brothers are John Scoggins of Fresno and Dave Scoggins of Lodi, both of whom will be here to attend the funeral. The two sisters are Mrs. Alice Potter of Portland and Mrs. Vesta Williams of Madera. Word has been received that they have started for Colusa.
F.G. Scoggins of Colusa is a half-brother and was practically raised by Mr. Scoggins. Other relatives who will attend the funeral are Mrs. W.E. Robins, a niece, of San Francisco, and Mr. And Mrs. J.W. Mendenhall and son, Bryan, of Williams.
Final arrangements for the funeral have not been made, but it has been decided to hold the services Saturday afternoon. Reverend R.E. Locks of the Methodist Church will officiate. Interment will be made in the Colusa Community Cemetery.
All businesses will be suspended in Colusa during the funeral. Mayor Oscar Robinson will issue a proclamation calling upon all business’s houses to close while the services are being held.
This morning all flags were flying from public buildings at half-mast. The Native Sons and the Odd Fellows, of which orders Mr. Scoggins was an honored member, hoisted their flags at half-mast over the lodge hall.