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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, September 11, 1864


Officer Rose, one of the coolest, shrewdest members of the detective force, was dispatched to Belmont, on the San Jose Railroad, by Chief Burke, on Friday morning, to arrest a suspected criminal named James Charles Mortimer, reported to be in hiding there; he was to find satisfactory proofs of the man's guilt, first, and then make the arrest; (his crime is to be kept a secret, as yet.) Arrived at Belmont, Rose got the proofs that he wanted, from a woman with whom Mortimer had been living, and from her he also obtained a clue of his hiding place, and captured his man. He then went to Santa Clara with his prisoner, in search of further evidence, and the two repaired to a secluded spot a mile and a half from the town, at nine o'clock on Friday night, to get some stolen property which Mortimer said he had buried there. The prisoner watched his opportunity while the officer's back was turned for a moment, or while he was digging for the hidden treasure, and knocked him down by striking him in the back of the head with a stone; he then took the officer's knife from his pocket and cut his throat with it, severing the windpipe half in two; next he thrust the blade into his throat and twisted it round; then, to make the murder sure, he took Rose's revolver and struck him across the forehead with it, inflicting a ghastly wound. Considering his victim finished by this time, he returned to Santa Clara, rifled the officer's valise, paid for a check through to San Francisco on the freight train, but jumped off the cars near Belmont Station, while they were running slowly, and has not since been heard of. Rose lay insensible for some time, but woke up at last, stunned and confused by the blows he had received, and feeble from his loss of blood, and in this condition he crawled a long distance, and finally reached the house of a Mr. Trenneth, about midnight, where he was properly cared for, and from whence he was removed to Santa Clara yesterday. It was at first supposed he could not survive his injuries, but he grew better rapidly and constantly, and now no fears are entertained that he will die. A man of his nerve and resolution requires more than one fatal wound to kill him. He was brought home to the city on the evening train yesterday. This man Mortimer (he has a dozen aliases,) half murdered a man named Conrad Pfister, in Dupont street, one night, and robbed him of nearly a thousand dollars, and for this highway robbery and attempted assassination our lenient Court of Assizes, as usual, only gave him a year in the State Prison. For the same offence, in the interior of the State, he would have gotten years at least, and been considered a favorite of Fortune at that. But you seldom find a longer sentence than one or two years on our Assize records. Mortimer is one of the worst men known to the Police. He paid his fare to San Mateo, in the morning train, about six weeks ago and then tried to slip by and go on to Belmont, but was detected by Mr. Nolan, the conductor, who put him ashore, and had a rough time accomplishing it. Mortimer swore he would remember the treatment he had received, and kill Nolan for it the first opportunity he got. Charles James Mortimer's photograph is No. 64 in the Rogue's Gallery at the office of the Chief of Police, and the countenance is not a prepossessing one. Accompanying the picture is this description of him, written some time ago: "Native of Maine; occupation, farmer; age, 23 years and 6 months; height, 5 feet 6 inches; weight, 160 pounds; hair, light; eyes, blue; complexion, light; full face, red cheeks, good looking; has a crucifix, with lighted candles, three pierced with arrows, on his right fore arm, printed in red and black ink, and on his left arm the letters C. J. M.; also, on one arm, the name of Flinn." Captain Lees, and a posse of Policemen, were sent down to Belmont by special train, yesterday, and have scattered in different directions in search of the missing criminal. He will be captured, if it takes the department ten years to accomplish it.

Since the above was in type, Mr. Rose has made the following statement: He was walking along with Mortimer, half way between San Jose and Santa Clara, on the way to the buried property, when the prisoner suddenly jumped to one side, seized a stone and knocked him down with it, as above stated, and stabbed him in the neck, swearing he would "finish" him. Thinking him "finished," he went away, but returned in the course of ten minutes, to satisfy himself. Standing behind Rose, as he lay on the ground, he exclaimed, in a disguised voice, "Hallo, my friend, what are you doing there? Anything the matter? If you're ailing, my farm-house is close by." The stratagem was successful; Rose was deceived, and raised his head, when the fellow re marked, "Oh, so you're not dead yet! I was afraid so; you've hunted me out, my man, and you can't live" - and he drew Rose's revolver and struck him three powerful blows, two back of the left ear, one on top of the head, and several about the forehead. Before taking his final farewell of his victim, Mortimer robbed him of his knife, revolver, and forty dollars in money. Chief Burke wishes us to extend his warmest thanks to the citizens living near the scene of the outrage, for the assistance rendered by them to Officer Rose, and especially to the members of Mr. Trenneth's family, who sat up with the wounded man all night, and did everything they could for his relief, and furnished him with blankets and bedding to use during his transportation on the cars; also, to Conductor Nolan and other officers of the Railroad, for their kindness in making every arrangement in their power for Mr. Rose's comfort, on his passage to the city. Rose was doing only tolerably well at last accounts, and was flighty at intervals.

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