At approximately 3:15 a.m. on the 11th of March, 1893, as Special Officer William G. Cashin and regular Officer George Joseph Ely were making their rounds, they paused on the south side of 7th Street between Chester and Center. Officer Ely recalled the night as a “fearful” one. Rain fell incessantly and the “roar of thunder” added to the glamour of the time.
During a lull in the thunder, the officers heard a “dull thud.” As they looked around, Officer Cashin believed he saw a flicker of light coming from the interior of Kuhnie’s Saloon at 1466 7th St. They went to investigate, and discovered that the saloon doors were open. Before entering the saloon, which was now completely dark, Officer Ely lit the candle that he carried in his pocket. Stepping through the doorway, both officers drew their pistols.
When their eyes grew accustomed to the dark, the officers saw a figure crouched in a far corner of the main room. As they turned toward it, a shot rang out. Both officers returned fire with their weapons. The crouching figure jumped up and ran for the door, followed by Officer Ely, who fired one more shot at the escaping figure as it crossed 7th Street.
Officer Cashin called out to Ely that he had been shot. Ely abandoned his pursuit of the suspect and returned to Cashin, whom he found clutching his abdomen. The two officers walked three blocks to a doctor’s residence. While Cashin was being attended to, Ely made his notifications.
When Officer Ely returned to the scene of the shooting, he discovered evidence that a second suspect had been on the premises and made good his escape. Near a broken window Officer Ely found a pistol and burglary tools. Following the path of the fleeing suspect that he had shot at, Ely found the suspect lying on the train tracks, dead. During the subsequent investigation, evidence of several more burglaries was discovered. The suspects had rifled cash registers and safes.
The second suspect was apprehended in San Francisco a few days later. He had quite a lengthy history of burglaries, robberies and other crimes. He and his dead accomplice cut a swath of crime throughout Northern California.
As serious as his wound was, Officer Cashin’s strong constitution gave hope to his family, friends, and doctors that he would survive. He rallied several times, only to fall into deep bouts of delirium and pain. Finally, at 2:15 a.m., March 12, 1893, Officer Cashin succumbed to his injury. He was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1837, and became an Oakland Special Police Officer in 1885. He was survived by his wife and four children who were at his bedside at the time of his death.