Army officer runs amok, kills 2 women, policeman (3-6-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (March 6, 1944)

Army officer runs amok, kills 2 women, policeman

Lieutenant wounds five others in early morning rampage before he is shot


Riverside, California (UP) –
An Army lieutenant ran amok early today at Camp Anza, killed two young women and a policeman, and injured five other persons but spared the lives of a pleading 22-year-old mother and her baby. Of the five reported wounded, only one, Ray Schlegel, Los Angeles aircraft worker, was identified. Schlegel was shot when the Army officer ordered him to pull over to the curb in front of the Arlington police substation while Mrs. Schlegel begged for the life of her eight-month-old baby.

Riverside, California (UP) –
Two young women and a policeman were killed and five others wounded early today by an Army officer who ran amok, shot his way out of camp, and killed a policeman who sought to disarm him.

The officer, identified tentatively as a Lt. Swanson, was shot three times by police.

The dead were:

  • Dorothy Douglas, about 19;
  • Lourdine Livermore, about 19,
  • A. B. Simpson, Riverside policeman.

The Army officer, identified tentatively as a Lt. Swanson, was shot three times by policemen.

The women were shot at Camp Anza shortly after midnight. The Army refused details of the shooting.

Police said Lt. Swanson commandeered an Army car at camp after shooting the women and forced a Negro sergeant to drive him into the nearby suburb of Arlington.

The car sped past the guard without pausing and the sergeant drove it to the police station. Acting apparently on orders from the lieutenant, the sergeant parked on the wrong side of the street, blocking traffic.

The first car to approach was driven by Ray Schlegel, 24, of Los Angeles, who was forced to stop. Schlegel and an unidentified sailor got out to investigate, leaving Schlegel’s wife and infant son in the car.

The Army officer brandished a gun and threatened to kill them. At this point, Policemen C. F. Cole and Simpson came out to investigate.

Schlegel warned:

Look out, this man has a gun.

Simpson and Cole spun around and simultaneously ordered Lt. Swanson to drop his service revolver.

As an answer, the lieutenant opened fire. The first two shots struck Schlegel in the chest, the next two hit Simpson in the abdomen. As Simpson fell, he emptied his gun at the Army officer, hitting him twice, Cole also fired and felled him with one shot.

Simpson died three minutes after reaching the hospital. Schlegel’s condition was reported as “good.”

The Army officer was removed to the Camp Anza hospital, where officials refused to say whether he was dead or alive.

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The Pittsburgh Press (March 7, 1944)

Two girls, policemen slain –
Lieutenant’s orgy laid to jealousy

Married officer in love with young secretary

Riverside, California (UP) –
Army 2nd Lt. Beaufort G. Swancutt, 31, of La Crosse, Wisconsin, whose shooting orgy Sunday night resulted in the death of two girl companions and a Riverside policeman, will be tried for murder from his wounds, Camp Anza officials said today.

Lt. Swancutt’s unrequited love for a young secretary was blamed for the shooting which occurred at a party in the Camp Anza Officers’ Club.

Lt. Swancutt, who has a wife and two children at La Crosse, was seated with the two girls, Dorothy Evelyn Douglas, 19, and Lourdine Livermore, 18, both of Long Beach, and Lt. Harry J. Light of Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, when he suddenly opened fire with his .45-caliber service automatic killing the girls and wounded Lt. Light and another officer, Lt. Aldace M. Minard of Pomona, who was passing their table.

He then commandeered a car and forced the driver to take him to nearby Arlington, where he fatally wounded Patrolman A. B. Simpson before he fell critically wounded with three bullets in his abdomen.

Lt. Swancutt had been keeping company with Miss Douglas, a secretary at the Port of Embarkation where he previously had been stationed, for about three months, according to the official version of the shooting.

Miss Douglas and Miss Livermore had been invited to Camp Anza as guests of Lt. Light. The four had dinner together, the report said, and then Lt. Swancutt excused himself and went to his quarters, returning with his service automatic. He sat down again for a few moments and then jumped up, firing.

Crouching and backing toward the door, Lt. Swancutt held the rest of the crowd at bay in true movie fashion. He escaped to the officers’ quarters where he aroused his superior, Capt. Aubrey G. Serfling, 27, of Preston, Minnesota, and demanded another clip of cartridges for his gun.

Capt. Serfling denied him the bullets.

Leveling his gun, he screamed:

Why you ******! I’ve killed four others already tonight, and I won’t be alive by morning. I see no reason why you should be either.

Corporal wounded

He fired two shots into Capt. Serfling’s abdomen, grabbed another clip of cartridges and fled. He then encountered a group of soldiers attracted by the shots and held them at bay, firing once and wounding Cpl. Robert Simpson.

Waving his revolver, he forced Sgt. John E. Roberts to drive him to nearby Arlington, where he forced an approaching car to the curb in front of the police substation. In it were Ray Schlegel (Los Angeles aircraft worker), his wife and eight-month-old son and a sailor cousin.

Wife makes plea

Lt. Swancutt ordered the young aircraft worker out of the car despite pleas of his wife, who asked the officer to spare them because of their baby asleep on the rear seat.

Mrs. Schlegel said:

He pushed a gun into my husband’s side and told him to get back in the car and start driving where I tell you or I’ll shoot.”

Just then, Arlington police started to investigate and he opened fire on Schlegel, inflicting a flesh wound. He then whirled on the two policemen, killing Patrolman Simpson.

Asks for doctor

Simpson went down shooting, however, and the combined fire of the policeman and his companion, C. F. Cole, dropped Lt. Swancutt. Cole was also wounded in the brief battle.

Lt. Swancutt underwent a sudden change of heart as he fell to the street. He moaned:

I’ve been shot. Call a doctor.

Unofficial reports of the shooting said Lt. Swancutt apparently became morose over his failure to improve his relations with Miss Douglas because of his wife and children, and resented the attentions she paid to Lt. Light.

Aimed at girl

The jealously motive for the slaying was bolstered by the fact that his first shots were aimed at Miss Douglas.

Long Beach police said Lt. Swancutt had been booked there July 18 on battery and disorderly conduct charges, but they were dismissed when his unit was sent overseas. He had assaulted two patrolmen who had taken him into custody for molesting a woman at a bar, police said.

Released from jail to join Army

La Crosse, Wisconsin (UP) –
Lt. Beaufort Swancutt, who killed three persons in a shooting spree that started in an Army camp, was serving a 90-day jail term on a vagrant charge when he was released to join the Army in August 1942, Assistant Police Chief Aaron Sanford said today.

Sanford said police records in Swancutt’s hometown showed 15 entries against him, including six cases of “family trouble.” The entries included two attempts at suicide, larceny, and disorderly conduct, Sanford said.

Authorities said Swancutt’s wife once divorced him but remarried him. They have two sons, 10 and eight years old.

Lt. Swancutt was one of seven children of Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Swancutt. His parents are separated.

One brother, Woodrow, formerly national collegiate boxing champion at the University of Wisconsin, is now in the Air Force and piloted Lord Louis Mountbatten, Allied military commander in India, during his visit to the United States.