Thursday, July 24, 2008

Escaping driver dies in shootout over $2.48 worth of gas

One man was killed, another wounded when a service station operator at Weiser Station north of Ontario turned his gun on three armed men who tried to drive off without paying for $2.48 worth of gas, the Argus-Observer reported on July 20, 1953.

Doyle C. Fulton, 23, was fatally wounded the previous Friday evening when he was struck in the back of the head by one of three shots that service station operator Frank Rembert fired into the rear of the escaping car.

Rembert told police that the front seat passenger in the car, John M. Kimball, pulled a gun from his shirt and used it to order Rembert into the service station building after he pumped gas into the car.

Rembert then retrieved a .38 revolver from his office.

According to the newspaper account, Rembert said he’d planned to shoot at the car’s tires but realized he was being fired on and aimed into the car.

Kimball, 27, was wounded by one of Rembert’s shots and the escaping car stalled a few miles down the road. From there, the would-be bandits pressed a passing motorist, C.W. Davis of Ontario, into their service to take Fulton to a hospital in Ontario, where Fulton died.

State police, alerted by Rembert and called to the hospital by hospital authorities, soon arrived to place Kimball under arrest.

Four men total were in the escaping car during shoot-out. Oregon authorities said they were from Los Angeles and that one of the men in the car was AWOL from the Army and another had served time for car theft. But neither the dead man nor the gunman had any kind of police record, according to testimony at a quickly convened coroner’s inquest.

The inquest resulted in Rembert being exonerated of any criminal responsibility in the shootings.

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