A Boy and His Dog – The Bobby Coomer Story – June 1954

This is taken from an article that aired in the Glasgow Times, date Thursday 17 June 1954. Keep in mind that the street addresses are not for the East Washington Street right off the Public Square. Until the 911 system came into effect, the area that this story covers was also known as East Washington Street. It is about three blocks long, and is now known as an extension of May Street. This section of East Washington ran from the old seminary house behind the Nazarene Church on East Main Street. Mat Street turned at the church, but once you rounded the corner in front of the large house, it turned into East Washington Street. This street crosses Bowen Avenue, and goes down the hill to Carnation Drive. This neighborhood was where my great grandfather lived, and my mother and her brothers and sisters grew up in his house. Later on my father’s parents lived across the street, but at the time of this story, they did not live there yet…
And the tale begins:

“A 31 year old mechanic, Earl Castile, was held for grand jury action on a murder charge Wednesday as the 14 year old boy he was accused of killing was buried in nearby Cave City.

“Shortly after 6:30 Monday evening a shotgun blast at 209 East Washington Street resulted in one of the most brutal murders in the county’s history when 14 year old Bobby Joe Coomer was fatally wounded as he stooped over in a neighbor’s yard to retrieve his black Cocker puppy; and Jolly T., the youth’s 19 year old brother, was struck in the face and arm by the same shot.
“Circumstances preceding the fatal shooting, as recounted by witnesses in the neighborhood, and an examining trial for Castile held Wednesday, agreed that the Coomer boys, who lived in the corner house, above and across the street from the Castile home (AN: on the corner of Washington and Bowen, or May and Bowen now), had come down the street to the home of Venus James, next door to Castile’s, entered the James yard about 5 to 10 minutes before the incident. the 2 brothers, in high spirits, had engaged in some good natured wrestling and kidding, when it was noted that Bobby’s pup had crossed into Castile’s yard. He set out to retrieve the pup, and when he stooped over to pick the pup up a shotgun charge stopped him in his stooped position, and he fell to the ground, mortally wounded.
“Mrs. James and son Bobby, and two small children, were sitting on their porch. They witnessed the tragedy. So did Paul Gass who was sitting on the front porch of his home, directly across the street. There was no evidence of the impending tragedy – the James boy and the Coomer boys had been enjoying the few minutes of companionship. Mrs. James and others, including the boy’s mother, attempted to aid the dying boy but were held at bay by Castile and his shotgun until a sizable crowd had gathered, followed soon by the police and ambulance.
“Castile reported to police that he had been “bothered” by the boys previously and had warned them to stay away from his house. He had borrowed the shotgun Sunday night for his “protection” and had decided on its use in an attempt to “scare” Jolly T. away – but that he did not see the younger boy when he fired.
“An examining trial was held before Judge Louie B. Nunn Wednesday morning, when Castile was arraigned on one count for “attempted murder,” in the shooting of Jolly T. Coomer. This was waived. The second charged him with the murder for the killing of Bobby Coomer. Five witnesses were presented by the Commonwealth, Bobby James, his mother Mrs. Venus James, Paul Gass, Coroner JM Dearing, and Police Chief Thomas Lyle. The defense did not present any witnesses whereupon Judge Nunn remanded Castile to jail until the September grand jury. It was indicated a motion to permit his release on bond might be considered later.
“When the youth fell, Castile is reported to have come out of the house and dragged the dying youth farther into his yard, and refused to permit anyone, including the dying boy’s mother, to approach him, or move him. The youth’s older brother, who is reported to have been standing behind and slightly to the left of his brother when the shot was fired, and was injured by several pellets from the charge, is reported to have engaged in a tussle with Castile as he was moving the boy, and not meeting with success stepped into the James yard next door and picked up a soft drink bottle and hurled it at Castile, striking him about the chin. The impact caused him to drop the boy, and Castile was reported to have stepped back to his porch and came out with a shotgun and admonished the group in the James yard, and on the street, that he would “kill anyone who started toward him.” Somewhere in the confusion, the dying youth had been moved to the driveway, where he was when found by police.”


About Gclee

I am a long time genealogy and local history hunter from Barren Co., KY. I have many stories to share that may be of interest to other local genealogists and history buffs. I enjoy this as a hobby and hope I can be of encouragement to others. I also hope everyone enjoys my stories as much as I have enjoyed learning about them.
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