Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - Target Practice February 18th, 1934 #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.

In 1934 Frank Coyne, an orphan who had lived with foster parents on Pierson Road, had just graduated from Northern High School.

Frank got a job and started saving money so he could live on his own. Frank’s only family in the area was the Hillakers. Frank was close to their son, his cousin Leroy.

Frank loved to hunt. On February 18th, Mrs. Hillaker took Frank to buy a hunting rifle. Leroy was at his side in the downtown sporting goods store while Frank was picking out his gun. The boys were excited to practice shooting it.

Afterward they finished shopping Mrs. Hillaker took the boys back to Frank’s home on Pierson Rd.

A bunch of the neighborhood kids gathered around to see Frank’s new piece of machinery. Frank and his older brother took turns shooting a target on a tree. The group of kids watched with excitement and were amazed by how good of a shot Frank was.

After a while, Frank put up a new target on the tree and had all the boys gather around the side of the tree to prove that could he could hit the target even while distracted.

The boys quickly gathered to the side, as Frank took his shot, Leroy noticed he was on the wrong side and tried to cross to the other side.

The bullet entered the front of Leroy’s head killing him instantly. The death was ruled accidental, and no charges were filed.

Leroy was only twelve years old and a student at Emerson Junior High.  

~ 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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