Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - Slain Detective April 19th, 1924 #freakyflinthistory

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

Slain Detective April 19th, 1924

Over a ten day span a series of robberies happened throughout Flint.

The police department was clueless. They had no idea who was committing the robberies. Finally their luck changed. A woman stopped by the police department who claimed to have overheard a couple men talking about robbing George Yats, the owner of a poolroom on Asylum Street. The plan was to rob George when he returned to his home on Jane Street when he got out of his car to open his garage door.

The police quickly met with George and devised a plan to capture the bandits. George felt he was too old to participate in the plan. He did not want to go along with it. Detective Matthew Hauer then altered the plan his superior Detective Pelton had outlined. Detective Hauer decided to dress like George Yats, drive his car, and take his place opening the garage. Against his better judgement, Detective Pelton finally agreed to the plan.

That evening, Detective Hauer got into George Yets’s coupe and headed for the house on Jane Street where his fellow officers were waiting.

The plan started going sideways when Detective Hauer noticed one of the bandits approaching. Hauer put the brakes on before pulling in front of the garage, jumped out of the coupe and started chasing the bandit. Detective Archer was hiding in a nearby bush and joined the chase.

The two detectives chased the bandit for almost two blocks. Archer was faster than Hauer and caught up with the bandit first. He grabbed the robber’s jacket and the two scuffled for a couple minutes before the bandit broke lose because Archer tripped. Detective Hauer arrived just after the thief broke free.

Hauer and the bandit both drew their guns and fired.

Hauer’s bullets all missed the thief and he was shot in the head. The bandit took off running again.

Back up arrived quickly. Detective Archer chased the bandit until he lost sight of him around Olive Street.

Hauer was taken to the hospital. Knowing Hauer was a member of the Catholic Church, the doctor requested a priest read last rights before the operation. After the operation, Hauer was moved to a private room where he died right after his family arrived.

Many men were arrested and taken in for questioning. The police force spent many days investigating the detective’s death with minimal leads. Finally they got a break when the name Charles Wilson was given to them. Wilson was a known gang member with long police record.

The police took him in for questioning and arrested him for detective Hauer’s murder.

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

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