SHOOTOUT (408)

The Browns were famous in Robbins. Frank, Cotton, Bobby, Charlie, and of course, the youngest Leon, were pretty damned formidable in 1952. There was another uncle and cousin I never met. They had then been gunned down earlier on the main street of Robbins. My future brother-in-law, Harold Ritter, gave me a firsthand eyewitness account of the event, having been in the general store where it occurred at the time.
Harold recounted the fact that the town policeman, a man named Moxley, tried to arrest the father-son combination within the store. They gunned Moxley down, and he fell behind the counter. As they drew a breath and relaxed, Moxley rose with two bullets in him, and put one each of his own in each Brown. The Browns never moved, one hit between the eyes. Moxley died in the street on the way to the doctor. The building later became the town’s water plant office. The front windowpane, shattered by one of their stray bullets, was bound and boarded and bolted back together. You were thus reminded of town lore as you walked past the water plant and Frye’s Store, one of the town hubs. Frye’s Store, at that time, was a simple shot-gun general store and shoe store. It endeared itself to me first for its outside sign: “Frye’s Shoes. Boys, we got’em.”

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