Barber County Kansas
Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon in Isabel at the Methodist Episcopal church for Robert Douthett, son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Douthett, who died from a gunshot wound received in an accidental shooting last Thursday afternoon. Rev. J. L. Renner, pastor of the church wa in charge of the services and burial was in the cemetery at Isabel.
The accident, which resulted n the boy's death occurred at the schoolhouse in Isabel Thursday afternoon June 3rd., when Bob Douthett and Kent Roessler, both members of the B-Square 4-H club of that vicinity, had gone to the school house to move stage furniture preparatory to arranging it for a play to be given that evening. Young Douthett was scheduled to take the leading part in the play and other members of the cast included his chum, Kent Roessler, Louise Gibson, Mary Douthett and Betty Lou Sleeper.
Before the boys started to move the furniture they spent some time in the school yard and Kent was carrying a revolver that was to be used in the play, according to the report of the accident made to Clarence Frieden, sheriff and Charley Gordon, coroner, who were called to investigate the accident. Kent had a cartridge in his pocket and decided to put it in the revolver and take a shot at a sparrow that was perched in a tree in the school yard. However, the bird flew away and he put the gun back in his pocket without firing it. The boys, along with a younger brother, Billy Douthett, went into the schoolhouse and started carrying the sets from an upstairs room down to the stage. Douthett ran up the stairs ahead of the other boy, carrying a rubber dagger that was also to be used in a scene in the play. As he reached the doorway of the room he turned to Roessler and said "You can't hit me."
Forgetting that the gun was loaded, Roessler pointed it at Douthett and pulled the trigger. He said he could not remember whether the gun clicked once or twice before there was a report. The bullet struck Douthett in the chest and he slumped to the floor. Roland Dixon, recently employed in the building as janitor heard a call for help and rushing upstairs found Roessler attempting to help the Douthett boy to his feet. He laid him down on the floor and opened his shirt to show Dixon that he had been shot. The two carried the injured boy to the Douthett car, parked at the school, and started with him to the hospital at Nashville as fast as they could go. The boy died, however before they reached Nashville. He apparently never recovered consciousness and a doctor at Nashville stated that death was caused by an internal hemorrhage.
Young Roessler, sixteen, was absolved of all blame, both by Clarence Frieden, sheriff, and Charley Gordon, coroner. Roessler was near collapse after the accident, heart-broken at the death of a classmate and chum.
Bob Douthett was fifteen years of age, a junior in high school, and an active worker in the 4-H club of which he was a member. He had been selected as Barber county 4-H club health champion and arrangements had been made for him to attend the 4-H club roundup at Manhattan this week. Roessler had planned to accompany him on his trip. He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Douthett, two sisters, Mary and Doris and two brothers, Roy, who is a student at Wichita University and Billy who witnessed the accident. He was a nephew of Charley Marshall of this city.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!