December 29, 1925, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Albert Manchester and
his wife were working alone in their grocery store at 1500 Fourth
A man entered the store and asked for
a pound of apples. As Mrs. Manchester went to the rear of the store to
get the apples, the man pulled out a pistol
could say a word, Mr. Manchester, who had been standing behind the
counter, started for a side door, leading into his home.
bandit ordered him to halt, but Manchester reached for a pistol and
opened fire. The gunman returned the fire. Manchester dropped, with one
bullet wound in his abdomen and another in the right forearm. Turning,
the bandit fled out the front door and down the street, as the wounded
grocer fired two shots after him.
Ten minutes later,
police gunsquads, detectives and patrolmen were combing the north side
in a search for the bandit Mrs. Manchester had described.
for the gunman in the north side gunsquad were Police Sergeant Michael
LAWRENCE, 58 years old, Patrolman Bernard Wynne, 34 years old, and the
gunsquad chauffeur, Patrolman Clarence J. Zane, 36 years old.
were cruising about in the vicinity, stopping to question everyone that
looked suspicious. They had stopped and talked to about half a dozen
persons before they saw a lone figure, answering the description of the
fugitive, at Fourteenth Avenue No. and Sixth Street No.
of the gunman’s description was that the man’s belt on his overcoat was
hanging down. This man was standing on the street, near the corner,
looking as though he didn’t know just what to do.
LAWRENCE instructed Patrolman Zane to pull up and question the fellow.
Pulling the car to the curb, Patrolman Zane brought the machine to a
halt and yelled to the man, “Wait a minute, where are you going?”
Lawrence was on the side near the curb, and when he stepped out on the
curb, Patrolman Wynne got out on the other side and started around the
The suspicious man had both hands in his overcoat
pockets, and just when Sergeant LAWRENCE had taken only one step on the
sidewalk, the gunman drew a pistol from his pocket and opened fire
without a word.
Sergeant LAWRENCE was shot twice, once
through the head and once through the heart. He fell dead on the
sidewalk as the fugitive started to flee down the street.
Wynne started after him, shooting, and the bandit returned fire,
sending three bullets crashing into the legs of Wynne.
Zane, seated at the wheel of the gunsquad car, started to take up the
chase by auto, and backed his car across the curb and onto a lawn, when
he saw the bandit turn from the street and dart between two buildings.
Leaping from his seat, Patrolman Zane started after the gunman, drawing his gun as he ran.
fugitive fled to the rear of a house at 1326 6th Street No., and
Patrolman Zane ran around the front of it, trying to head him off.
“Just as I got around the corner of the front of the house, the fellow
came around the rear corner of the house,” said Zane. “We both pulled
up our guns, and I heard his gun click on an empty shell just before I
shot. He had a five bullet gun, and it was empty, as he had shot twice
at Lawrence and three times at Wynne. My first bullet, fired at about
50 feet, just the length of the house, dropped the bandit, but he was
Patrolman Wynne, although wounded in both
legs, but refusing to give up the chase, crawled to Zane’s side. “You
watch him, I’m going back to Lawrence,” Zane said, as he raced back to
Sergeant LAWRENCE’s side.
He found the veteran policeman dead, and called for the police ambulance.
Patrolman Zane came back from calling the ambulance, he saw that
Patrolman Wynne was lying down on the ground searching the unconscious
man, and had taken his gun away already.
The bandit had
tried to get up and offer a fight, but Patrolman Wynne crawled up to
him on his hands and knees and knocked him twice over the head with the
butt of his gun.
Patrolman Wynne and the gunman were
taken to General Hospital, where the bandit died two hours later. He
was identified as Stanislaus Sciban, a 37 year old Pole.
grocer’s wife, who was held up by the bandit in their store, was rushed
to General Hospital to view Sciban shortly before he died. “That’s the
man who held us up,” she told police. “I would know him anywhere. When
I turned around and saw that gun pointed at me, I took a good look at
him and I know it is the same man.”
Mrs. Manchester then went back to her husband’s bedside, where he remained in serious condition.
The dead bandit Sciban had died from being struck in the head by a single bullet, tearing away the lower part of his face.
check of his police record showed that he was paroled from Stillwater
State Prison two weeks earlier for the second time in six years, after
being twice sentenced to serve terms of 5 to 40 years for highway
In a notebook found in Sciban’s pocket were
the names and addresses of several persons, business houses and sales
concerns handling beads and novelties. He had been trained in bead work
at the St. Peter Hospital for the insane, during his five years of
Sergeant Michael LAWRENCE, victim of
the bandit’s bullets, had been a member of the Minneapolis police force
for the last 26 years and planned to retire after another 48 hours
Six years ago, LAWRENCE was eligible to retire
on the pension list, but chose to remain on active duty, and planned
with members of his family to give up active duty on January 1, 1926.
several years, LAWRENCE worked as a logger in Minneapolis lumber mills,
but gave up that work to join the police force in 1899. A few years
later, he was promoted to desk sergeant, and later was given command of
the North side gunsquad.
Beside his wife, who lives at
the family home, 1530 Hillside Avenue No., Sergeant LAWRENCE is
survived by one son and three daughters.
Led by Frank
W. Brunskill, chief of police, 125 Minneapolis and St. Paul police
officers, as a guard of honor, attended the funeral services of their
fallen comrade, Sergeant Michael LAWRENCE, on the day on which he was
to have retired from service.
Interment took place at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
letter of condolence was sent to Mrs. Lawrence by Floyd Olson, Hennepin
County Attorney, expressing a resolution of sympathy extended by the
Hennepin County Grand Jury.