As they stepped from the doorway a man stopped them and asked what had happened.
“We’re goin’ for a doctor,” said Cheyenne. “Somebody got hurt.”
Hastening along the shadowy wall of the building, they turned a corner and by a roundabout way reached the city marshal’s office.
The marshal, who had been summoned in haste, was at his desk. “Sneed and his bunch got Panhandle,” stated Cheyenne quietly. “Mr. Bartley, here, saw the row. Four of Sneed’s men are down. One got away.”
“Sure it was Sneed?”
“I reckon your men will fetch him in, right soon. Panhandle got Sneed and a Mexican, before they stopped him.”
Colonel Stevenson glanced at Cheyenne’s belt and holster. Cheyenne drew his gun and handed it to the marshal. “She’s fresh loaded,” he said.
“Cheyenne emptied his gun trying to fight off the men who killed Panhandle,” said Bartley, stepping forward.
“And you’re sure they were Sneed’s men?” queried the marshal.
“I am obliged to you,” said the marshal. “But I’ll have to detain you both until after the inquest.”
TWO TRAILS HOME
Bartley was the chief witness at the inquest. He told his story in a manner that impressed the coroner’s jury. Senator Brown was present, and identified one of the dead outlaws as Sneed. Posmo, killed by Panhandle’s first shot, was known in Phoenix. Panhandle, riddled with bullets, was also identified by the Senator, Cheyenne, and several habitues of the gambling-hall. Bartley himself identified the body of one man as that of Hull.
Cheyenne was the last witness called. He admitted that he had had trouble with Panhandle Sears, and that he was looking for him when the fight started; that Sneed and his men had unexpectedly taken the quarrel out of his hands, and that he had fired exactly five shots at the men who had killed Panhandle and it had been close work, and easy. Panhandle had put up a game fight. The odds had been heavily against him. He had been standing in the light of the gambling-hall doorway while the men who had killed him had been in the shadow. “He didn’t have a chance,” concluded Cheyenne.
“You say you were looking for this man Sears, and yet you took his part against Sneed’s outfit?” queried the coroner.
“I didn’t just say so. Mr. Bartley said that.”
“Mr. Bartley seems to be the only disinterested witness of the shooting,” observed the coroner.
“If there is any further evidence needed to convince the jury that Mr. Bartley’s statements are impartial and correct, you might read this,” declared the city marshal. “It is the antemortem statement of one of Sneed’s men, taken at the hospital at three-fifteen this morning. He died at four o’clock.”
The coroner read the statement aloud. Ten minutes later the verdict was given. The deceased, named severally, had met death by gunshot wounds, at the hands of parties unknown.