The Shooting of Joe Bowers
Guards' Memorandums and Surgeon's Report

Chandler Wilkinson Morrison Steere Starr Archer Autopsy

Chief Medical Officer George Hess's Memorandum to Warden Johnston
Dated May 7, 1936

It is desired to make a final report upon the death of the above named inmate who died at this institution on April 27th as the result of a gunshot wound of the chest.

This man, while attempting to escape over the fence on the west side of the Island, was shot by a Guard at about 11:00 a.m., on April 27, 1936. He fell to the waters edge, a distance of about seventy five feet. I first saw the man lying at the waters edge and he was apparently dead. About fifteen minutes later I examined the man closely and definitely diagnosed him as being dead.

A preliminary examination was made at that time and it was thought the man's neck was broken. A more detailed post mortem examination revealed that the neck was not broken. At this examination the following wounds were found: bullet wound of the right chest, posteriorly, bullet wound of right buttock, lacerated wound of left chest, fracture of the left second rib and a small puncture wound of the right thigh.

The post mortem examination by the city Autopsy Surgeon revealed the following findings: A bullet wound into the right chest posteriorly just lateral to the scapula and penetrating the right lung. Upon opening the chest cavity it was found that the bullet had transversed the chest cavity and had emerged from the left chest just below the clavicle leaving a ragged wound about about 2 inches in length. As the bullet emerged from the chest it fractured the 2nd rib on the left side. There was also found a bullet wound of the right buttock and right thigh. These wounds were made by fragments of a bullet and no whole bullet was found. No other bones of the body were fractured. I was present at the post mortem examination.

The cause of death as reported by the city Autopsy Surgeon is as follows: Shock and pulmonary hemorrhage from a gunshot wound of the chest.