April 22, 1914: Pistol “duel” erupts outside of Duluth’s Union Depot

On this day in Duluth in 1914, a pistol duel erupted just across the street from the Union Depot. Joseph Rich, 52, and his brother-in-law and business partner, Frank Carlo, 43, were in their confectionery/grocery store at 511 West Michigan Street when they began to argue. The disagreement got out of hand at 11:20 p.m. Eleven shots were fired in what the Duluth News Tribune described as a “duel.” One of the bullets struck bystander Miles T. Frink, 55. Three more hit Carlo. Both men were rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital, where Carlo died. Frink survived but was detained by the police for drunkenness. Rich did not escape injury—he suffered head wounds when Carlo struck him with a fireplace poker. Rich told the police he had acted in self-defense. Frink and Joseph Stringer witnessed the whole ordeal. They said that Carlo was the first to introduce a gun into the argument, and that Carlo continued to attack Rich even after he “had been shot through the heart and bore two other bullet wounds, one in the right abdomen and the other in the left shoulder.” The quarrel began when Rich, the senior partner, checked in on Carlo and found more cash in the register than had been rung up and accused Carlo of “knocking down”—reporting fewer sales and pocketing the difference. “After a few hasty words,” the witnesses said, Carlo began shooting, hitting Frink in the calf as he fled the building with Stringer. Neither man saw Rich shoot, but Frink told police Rich “emptied his revolver,” a .32 Colt. Despite being mortally wounded, Carlo then attacked Rich with the iron poker. Adolph Agdhal, who owned a saloon nearby at 509 West Michigan Street, separated the two. Rich was held in jail and charged with second-degree murder. During an inquest, a coroner’s jury found he acted in self defense. On May 8, a grand jury found Rich had acted in self defense, and he was released.