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Killing of
John Nunn
in 1902


Lincoln Sentinel, Dec. 4, 1902

"A Terrible Tragedy"


"David Shirk Shot and Killed His Father-In-Law, John Nunn"


About three oíclock Thanksgiving afternoon, John Nunn was shot five times and almost instantly killed by his son-in-law, David Shirk, as the result of a quarrel.
The shooting occurred in an alley adjoining Mohrís stock barn. Shirk and his wife had been there for dinner and the two men got into a scuffle a short time after. Shirk knocking Nunn down and then running out of the house. Nunn got up and followed him, and when out in the alley Shirk drew a .32 caliber revolver and commenced firing, emptying the six chambers. Nunn ran back around the corner of the barn and fell a few feet from the fence west of Mohrís barn.
Alvay McKay arrived within about half a minute of the shooting, and Nunn showed but faint signs of life then, and was dead before carried into the house a minute or two later.
At the coronerís inquest held Friday behind closed doors, Dr. Hultner testified as to the wounds, which were five in number, one entering to the left of the heart and just a little below, and the others all entering from behind. Two wounds, the one from in front near the heart and one between the shoulders in the back, would probably have been fatal.
Mrs. Nunn, wife of the deceased, testified that there had been trouble for some time between her husband and Shirk. She scarcely knew how the trouble started, she being too badly frightened to notice. Shirk got her husband on the floor, and then ran out while Nunn got up and followed. She ran after trying to stop him but when they were out in the alley Shirk began to fire, and she ran. She testified that Shirk followed and kept firing.
A big crowd attended the preliminary hearing at the courthouse before Justice Norris yesterday. The defendant was ordered held without bail till the next term of court. The evidence was introduced by the prosecution and consisted of the examination of a number of witnesses. Shirk pled not guilty to premeditated murder. S.H. Brunt explained in detail the plot of the houses and grounds near the scene of the tragedy.
The testimony of the family as given at the preliminary was to the effect that Nunn came home after the rest had all eaten dinner, and told Shirk he wanted to speak to him after dinner about something he had heard some men say uptown. Shirk told him to tell him then, and walking over took hold of his shoulder. Nunn was sitting down at the time but rose up and they clinched. The family tried to separate them but failed.
Mrs. Nunn ran out too soon to see the last of the struggle in the house. Letta, one of the 14-year-old twins, testified she saw Shirk strike her father several times and knock him down. Shirk then ran out and Nunn followed. She said Shirk told him to stay back, that he had enough; that he was not on his land. Nunn threw off his coat and Shirk his overcoat when they were outside. She said her father fell down twice as he ran out. She took Shirkís little boy around the house and did not see the shooting.
Letta testified that she was close to her father in the alley when the shots were fired. At the first shot Nunn stopped and then started on till the second shot when he turned, walking rather than running back up the alley, Shirk following and continued shooting. Nunn ran around the corner of Mohrís barn and fell dead.
The revolver, a 32-caliber Harrington and Richardson, was introduced as evidence. W.D. Brumbaugh testified that Shirk gave himself up without any resistance. The revolver was loaded when handed over to him.
The defense introduced no evidence but makes the claim of self-defense.
In justice to both sides it should be remembered that many facts connected with the case have not yet been brought out, and the defendant should neither be condemned nor excused in public opinion until the entire evidence is in.
It is a terrible affair, and one which cannot but result in untold misery to the families of both men. The complete facts of the case will not be brought out until the trial in the February term of court when the defense will give evidence which may throw new light on many things which are now obscure.


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