San Francisco Call, Volume 98, Number 46, 16 July 1905 — EX-STATE SENATOR E. F. BERT TRIES TO KILL HIMSELF. [ARTICLE+ILLUSTRATION]
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EX-STATE SENATOR E. F. BERT TRIES TO KILL HIMSELF.
Fires Bullet. From Revolver Through His Left Lung.
Tries to Make His Wife Believe a Robber Shot Him.
Illness of Ten Years' Duration Produces Despondency.
Ex-State Senator Eugene F. Bert, attorney at law and president of the Pacific Coast Baseball League, attempted to end his life with a bullet yesterday morning. The affair -was at first surrounded ■with a great deal of mystery, but the reason finally given by relatives and friends is that the attorney was demented from illness and preferred death to an operation which he considered Inevitable. Bert may recover, but as the leaden missiJe passed entirely through cne lung, the chances are greatly against him.
The ex-Senator attempted to destroy his life in the kitchen of his home at IC2^ California street. No one else was present in the room at the time, but his wife, attracted by the shot, ran quickly to the scene. At first Bert was convdous and told a story of being shot by a robber. This story was quickly proven flimsy by the fact that the revolver from which the bullet was fired belonged to the injured man. The house was also locked from the inside and there was no possibility of any outsider being responsible for the deed. When Mrs. Bert realized what had happened, she telephoned immediately to Andrew J. Clunie and an effort was made to hush the matter up. The police were not notified and it was agreed, if the wounded man did not die, they should be kept in ignorance. TALKS OF A ROBBER.
During the day, however, the story leaked out and Captain of Detectives Burnett detailed Detective Ed. Gibson to make an Investigation. Mrs.Bert expressed much surprise when the officer visited her and finally agreed to make a statement. She said that her husband had been awakened shortly after 7 o'clock in the morning by a noise on the rear porch. He immediately arose and started out to investigate. A few moments later. Mrs. Bert averred, she heard a pistol shot and when she rushed to the kitchen she found her husband stagpering about, his nightgown on fire and blood rushing from a wound in the left breast.
Bert is alleged to have said "Ha shot me!" upon seeing his wife. Mrs. Bert said she heard the noise of the alleged robber as he ran down the rear stairway to the yard and then out through a narrow allej'way. Gibson took little stock in the story and started an investigation. TCo one on the premises had seen or heard the robber escape and every particle of evidence that could be secured tended to prove that the attorney had tried to kill himself. Mrs. Bert stuck to her story and her husband was in such a condition that
the bond and warrant derK was refused admission to ,the room to take a dying statement. Several friends of the family visited the house during the day. but they remained reticent and referred all who inquired to the tale told by Mrs. Bert. CLUXIE MAKES STATEMENT.
Last evening Andrew J. Clunie appeared at the Hall of Justice and offered to tell Chief Dinan and Captain Burnett all he knew. Clunie axplained that Bert had either shot himself intentionally or that the pistol had gone off accidentally. He said the weapon had been secured for Bert by Sig Simon and that the pawnbroker who sold it could easily Identify it. As a reason for suicide Clunie said that Bert had been in ill health for the last ten years. He was under treatment by a local physician, who is at present in Europe, and was only awaiting the latter's return to have an operation performed. .... , . _
For the Jast few months Bert has grown rapidly -worse. and his suffering has been intense. He has been unable to sleep and frequently fell to the floor from pain and loss of strength. About one month ago one of Bert's friends, who -was similarly afflicted, told him of the tortures of the operation. Bert brooded when he _heard this and on July 6 asked a friend of his. Sig Simon, to secure him a revolver. Simon asked Bert what he wished the weapon for and the ex-Senator replied that he was going to spend a few days in the country and wanted to take it with him. Simon then visited a pawnbroker, secured the -weapon and gave It to Bert STORY OF THE SHOOTIXG.
For the last few days Bert had been Induced to remain at home and take care of himself. He planned a trip to Cleveland, Ohio, and was to have started this morning with his wife. Trunks were packed and all was in readiness for the journey. The ex-Senator, however, went downtown on Friday night to bid his friends good-by and returned home shortly before midnight. When he entered the house he told his wife of two suspicious characters who were evidently waiting for him on California street and he continued to. talk about them during tha night. Hi* pain was very great and be slept but little. Shortly after 7 o'clock ha told his wife that he thought he heard a noise in the kitchen and arose to investigate. The pistol shot followed and Mrs. Bert, after extinguishing the blazing garment, dua to tha close contact of tha pistol, half-dragged, half-carried the wounded man back to bed. Dr. Manning and Dr. Ballard war* summoned and at first believed the injury to ba a slight one. The bullet was of U2 caliber and it did not seem that tha ball had- penetrated deeply. When the probe was inserted, however, it was discovered that the lead had passed entirely through the left lung and it was necessary to extract the bullet from the back. Should no serious complication follow Bert may recover, but thera is danger both of blood poisoning and pneumonia. Last night the patient wasjesting easily.
THREE LEGISLATIVE TERMS.
Eugene Bert has been prominently connected with baseball 'from its early days in this city and has done much in making it the popular pastime that it Is to-day in San Francisco. He is at tha present time president of the Pacific Coast Baseball League, which position he has held- for tha last few years. He was to have left to-day for Cleveland to complete some business for this league.
During the days of the Greenhood and Morans* Pioneers and other famous baseball teams of bygone days that played in the old Haight street grounds, he acted as secretary of tha league. He served three sessions In the Legislature. In 1891 he. was elected Assemblyman and- during the following two sessions was elected as Senator on the Republican ticket from the Twenty-fourth District. Bert is a prominent native son, having filled the office of; Grand Orator in 1595.
WELL-KNOWN* LAWYER, PRESIDENT OF THE PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE OF BASEBALL CLUBS AND FORMER GRAND ORATOR OF THE NATIVE SONS. WHO SHOT HIMSELF. PROBABLY FATALLY.