This story was published by The Ypsilanti Daily Press on Monday, May 3, 1909.
One of the most mysterious shootings that has ever startled Washtenaw County occurred in Lodi township Sunday at midnight.
Jacob Lombard, aged 19, a farmer lad, and son of immensely wealthy parent, died almost instantly after accidentally shooting himself with an old fashioned revolver which had belonged to his father.
The story told by the lad to his mother before he died is scouted at by Deputy Sheriff Stark. Following is the lad’s story:
About one mile from the house he was halted in a dark spot in the road by two men whose faces he was unable to recognize. They pulled the horse up short and then seized young Lombard, roughly hauling him from the vehicle.
The pair wasted few words, as though they feared their voices would reveal their identity, and began to beat Lombard unmercifully. After pounding him until they were tired they threw him down and dragged him by the heels through a nearby pond of stagnant water and mud. Then they walked away, leaving Lombard to return home the best he could.
According to the story told by the young man’s mother, when he returned home in a state of semi-collapse, he begged her to let him take a rusty old revolver she owned. He explained that he wanted it as a protection when he should return to his work near Saline, fearing, he said, that he would be set upon again by the two thugs. Mrs. Lombard had just given him the weapon and he was apparently examining it, when she heard a shot and found the youth dying, the having taken effect in his nose and penetrating his brain. He was dead in a moment.
Mrs. Lombard declares that he son’s death was accidental and that the trigger evidently had been pulled as he was examining the weapon’s old-fashioned mechanism.
A third sister of young Lombard said that her brother, until his beating, apparently did not have an enemy stifled over the episode. The mother and sister are inclined to the belief that either robbery was the motive or that Lombard was mistaken for someone else.
Deputy Sheriff Stark, however, is of the opinion that Lombard was not beaten at all, but merely dragged by the horse, which, he maintains, ran away with the youth, as had often occurred before. Stark learned that Lombard had frequently been reproved at home for the horse’s running away. He thinks that while Lombard was returning, a dog ran into the doorway, frightening the horse, which ran, throwing Lombard out. He says there is no evidence on the body of Lombard having been beaten, but the bruises and cuts appear as if made by the victim being dragged, as at the end of the reins. He thinks Lombard, on arrival at home, for fear of being reproved, told the story of thugs. He also believes that the young man’s death was purely accidental and that the single bullet in the revolver was discharged while Lombard was trying to “center” it. The buggy was badly smashed up.
Lombard is survived by his mother, three brothers and three sisters.
Lombard was employed by his uncle Christ Lombard, and it is said that he was returning home after taking his sisters to the interurban railroad station when the shooting occurred.