SGT. CHARLES MAY GANTZ

End of Watch: Wednesday, August 8, 1923

Sgt. C.M. Gantz, 36, received information concerning an alleged cache of illicit liquor, located on N. 3rd Street — a short distance north of Washington Avenue. Sgt. Gantz left a written note at the PD detailing where he and several other officers would be, attempting to locate the illicit liquor.

The location was an abandoned cistern with a dry bottom at the rear of the building. Although other officers urged him not to go in the well, Sgt. Gantz told them he felt it was a matter of duty that he investigate. He was lowered by rope into the 20-foot well by Officers Lee Jenkins, C.E. Ware and Frank Tennison.

While being lowered into the well, Sgt. Gantz was overcome by a toxic mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen gases, and lost his grip on the rope. He lay motionless at the bottom of the well for nearly an hour. Several attempts were made to rescue him, but were unsuccessful due to the extreme black gas. Officers Lee Cashaw and F. Cushion were finally able to use the rope and long pole to secure a loop around one of his feet and pull him to the surface. Sgt. Gantz was unconscious and without a pulse. Five doctors from Colgin hospital were present, and although numerous life saving methods were employed, to include the use of a pulmotor, they were not able to revive him.

Sgt. Gantz was survived by a wife and seven children. His eighth child was born two days after his death on August 10, 1923.

Sgt. Gantz came to Waco in 1921 from Louisville, Kentucky. He worked with his father for a short time before joining the Waco Police Department. He was a member of the Masonic Order and the Woodmen of the World. He served two years with WPD.
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