Byron Goeltz, 28 years old, of Bismarck, Constable and Deputy Sheriff, was shot to death with a shotgun by August Lynch, 56 years old bachelor railroad fireman, on the main business street in Bismarck at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. Lynch lived in Potosi and had been employed as a fireman on the Potosi branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad for a number of years. After killing Byron Goeltz, Lynch was slain in a gun battle with Ferdinand Goeltz, brother of the slain officer, and Jacob Goeltz, his father. The gun with which Lynch killed Goeltz was loaded with BB shot and the younger Goeltz used a rifle in killing Lynch.
The story of the affair as related by witnesses follows: Goeltz had attached Lynch's car on the streets of Bismarck to partly satisfy a judgement that had been secured against Lynch by Jake Dycus for $3,000, for the alleged alienation of the affection of Dycus' wife. Goeltz put the car in a garage after attaching it and a shotgun was taken from the car by Lynch, after which he walked down the street to the corner near the Bank of Bismarck. Goeltz came down the street shortly afterward and the two men talked for a few minutes and Goeltz took some papers and a pencil from his pocket and stooped down to do some writing. Lynch then stepped back and fired a shot gun charge of BB shot into his heart. The charge killed Goeltz instantly. Before the shooting someone asked Lynch where he was going with a shotgun and he said, "I might go hunting and kill a fox after awhile."
After killing Goeltz, Lynch walked down the street a short distance to the meat market and grocery conducted by G. J. Goeltz, father of the slain man. Upon entering the store he attempted to fire at Ferdinand Goeltz, a younger brother. The gun snapped and young Goeltz ran upstairs and got a rifle and fixed himself for battle on the porch over the street. By that time, Lynch had crossed the street and was behind a Chevrolet roadster belonging to Goeltz. Lynch opened fire on Goeltz but none of the shots were effective, the fire was returned by Goeltz, but he failed to hit his mark. Lynch crossed the street and was walking down the sidewalk when he was shot, the fatal shot was said to have come from the upstairs porch where Ferdinand Goeltz was stationed. Two shots took effect and Lynch fell in front of Wallen's Taxi Station. The bodies of the slain men were removed to the undertaking establishment of Hill & White where an inquest was conducted by Coroner Dr. R. B. Lester.
The coroner's jury returned a verdict in the death of Goeltz as follows: "Byron Goeltz came to his death by gunshot wounds from the hands of August Lynch." In the death of Lynch, the verdict was: "August Lynch came to his death by gunshot wounds from the hands of persons unknown to the jury."
It is stated that no actual eye-witnesses were available who would testify that they actually saw the person fire the shot that killed Lynch.
It is said that there had been ill feeling between Lynch and the Goeltz family for several years which began over the killing of a dog that belonged to Lynch and grew more bitter as long drawn out litigation followed.
Lynch was said to have quit work after the judgement was rendered against him and that he had steadfastly refused to make any payments thereon. It is also reported that fellow workmen had offered to assist Lynch financially and had tried to persuade him to return to work and settle the matter and forget about it.
This is the second double murder in St. Francois county within the past six months. The other having taken place in Flat River near the post office.
The judgement mentioned against Lynch was rendered in circuit court in Washington county and the attachment which Deputy Goeltz served on him was sent direct to Goeltz from Washington county, according to information given The News from the sheriff's office in this county.