This story was published by The Ypsilanti Record on January 1, 1920.
Monday afternoon Edward Leroy Helzerman, the little three year old grandson of Mr. and Mrs. John M. Bissell, lost his life by the accidental discharge of a 38 Colts automatic revolver. The act was committed by his own hands.
John M. Bissell, of the Ypsilanti police force, had finished his work for the day and went to his home. He took the revolver from his pocket and placed it on the buffet-just as he had done many times before-with little thought that grim tragedy was hanging over the home. After supper Mr. Bissell went into the front room and laid down on the lounge, and Mrs. Bissell went in the kitchen, busy with supper work. The mother of the child, Mrs. Edna Bissell Helzerman, who was in another room, came into the dining room, where the baby was playing several times to see that he was all right. Peace and quiet was in that home, when without warning, the heavy report of the revolver was heard, and when the family rushed into the dining room baby Edward lay on the floor where he had fallen from a chair he had pulled up to the buffet in order to get grandpa’s gun, that he had so often admired in his baby way.
It is thought that the boy, spying the revolver on the buffet, shoved a chair over against it, climbed up and reached for the revolver, pulling it toward him, and when the muzzle was against his body in some manner managed to discharge it, the bullet entering his breast and passing through the back. A physician was hastily summoned, but the little fellow never regained consciousness, but died in his grandmother’s arms.
The family has the heartfelt sympathy of our citizens, and especially Mr. Bissell, who is crazed with grief. It is one of those unfortunate accidents that one cannot realize how it could happen, as it would seem almost impossible that a three year old baby would have the strength enough in its hands to discharge a revolver of this caliber.
The funeral will be private and will be held from the house Thursday morning at 10 o’clock. Burial will be at Highland cemetery.