All of us ducked and I even hit the dirt like an infantryman being shot at by a sniper, who undoubtedly had taken the marshal out. Apparently, he was considered a weak link, and I don’t mean on the internet.
No more shots rang out, so we gingerly got to our feet. I went over to the body and rolled it over. The marshal had a perfectly round hole in the center of his forehead, without an exit wound. I considered that for a moment. It meant either the shot came from a large caliber weapon, but was so far away that it didn’t have enough force to totally penetrate the skull, or the weapon had been of such a small caliber that it didn’t have enough inertia to exit the back of the skull.
I asked Jonah if he remembered which direction the marshal was facing when he was killed. Jonah thought for a moment and said the marshal had been facing south. I then requested the men to hold up the corpse and face him south. I found a small stick and barely put it in the wound. It showed an upward slant, and as we all looked south, there appeared to be a line of trees behind a row of houses about 350 yards away. I believed the shot had come from a sharpshooter sitting in one of the distant trees using a Whitworth rifle, which could be equipped with a scope and was a favorite rifle for this type of assassination.
I removed the stick and asked the men to please carry the body to the mortician. I could see that my utilization of the stick had made a few of the men queasy. Each of them gulped a few times and began to transport the body across the street to the mortuary.
This left Mr. Throckmorton and me standing in the middle of the road, facing a fast-gathering crowd. Everyone was asking what had happened and who had shot the marshal. Luckily, Mr. Throckmorton took control and explained that all the information would be forthcoming at a public meeting that he was going to call tonight. Seeing the Methodist minister in the crowd, Mr. Throckmorton got an approval to hold the meeting in the Methodist Church.
I had wandered to the south, away from the crowd and, once at the livery stable, I stopped and continued to look at the supposed position of the assassin. I kept asking myself, “Now who could have pulled off that kind of shot in this day and time?”