A Criminal Coincidence (1935)

In 1935, a 19 year old man, standing 6’2, 240 pounds, was brought into the North Bay jail by his brother and a Police Constable. In no time, the man was fighting with officers with the fury of a “caged lion”. The conflict began when officers present noticed the man was wielding a razor sharp 8 inch long file, a tool used for sharpening saws.

Photo by Emiliano Bar on Unsplash

Three local officers, three provincial officers, the man’s father and his brother all attempted to remove the weapon from the man. A Deputy and a Constable both sustaining injuries from the file, including stab wounds located on the face and scalp of the deputy.

One officer present described the attempt to enter the cell to calm the man down as “almost suicide”, and the man’s rage was described by the attending officers of that of 10 times that of a normal man. There was no information regarding if substance use had a role in his behaviour.

The man fought off officer after officer. At first he stood with a rosary clenched in his outreached hand shouting “you can’t hurt me with this”, and then he began to attack intruders to his cell with his file. Eventually, officers decided to let him be while he calmed down, out of fear of sustaining additional injury, leaving him in the cell with the file. While they had tried to secure tear gas in order to assist in disarming the man, it was unavailable to them.

Sure this story is pretty crazy. A barely-adult manhandling the local police, stabbing one officer and injuring another in the chaos. While the article didn’t specify, we can assume the man eventually calmed down as he didn’t make future news. The key to this story is not necessarily the conclusion however, the key is the interesting coincidence of the name of the man:

Gerard Shank.



Lebelle & McClenaghan (2009). The Beat Light: North Bay Police History 1887-2007. WFL Communications.

If you enjoy The Gateway’s articles, throw us a follow on instagram and twitter, or like our facebook page.

If you want to wake up with the latest Gateway content in your inbox, be sure to subscribe!

%d bloggers like this: