Dead Man’s Last Words: ‘Here’s a Good Spot to Shoot, Baby,’ July 25, 1944

Dr. Alexander Fleming

July 25, 1944, Love Triangle

“Here’s a good spot to shoot, baby” are the probably the last words spoken by William B. Smith, 39, a dental technician (or a shipyard worker, depending on the story) who was confronted by his angry girlfriend, waitress Mildred Cook, 30, after he told her that he was reconciling with his wife, according to a Times story.

July 25, 1944, Love Triangle

West 25th Street
West 25th Street via Google Street View.

July 25, 1944, William Smith Smith had separated from his wife, Lida, and was living in a rooming house at 1264 W. 25th St., where he became involved with Cook, another tenant.

Cook told homicide Dets. Lloyd Hurst and Robert Lohrman (the future head of homicide) that on Sunday, July 23, she returned from an outing and found Smith in his room with his wife.

“We had a few drinks of wine and he told me of the reconciliation,” Cook said. “I said to him ‘Well, I happen to love you too.’ He turned to me and said: ‘Well, I happen to love my wife.’ ”

Cook said she left the room and returned with a .38 revolver from another resident’s nightstand.

According to Lida Smith, Cook said: “If I can’t have you, I’m going to kill you.”

The wife continued: “Bill must have thought she was joking. He lay back on the bed, pointed at his stomach and told her: ‘Here’s a good spot to shoot baby.’ ”

Lida Smith said: “If that’s the way it is, I’m leaving,” but her husband held her back.

“Then she shot him,” Smith said.

Cook dropped to her knees beside him and said: “Daddy, daddy, I didn’t mean to kill you. Get up.”

A Sept. 29, 1944, story gives a different account of the killing. In this version, Cook returned to the room she was sharing with Smith and found him there with his wife.

William Smith said: “Get your clothes out of here. Lida and I are going back together again.”

Cook told police that she didn’t know the gun was loaded.

The Times never reported the outcome of the trial, so there is no further information on the disposition of this case.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1944, Homicide, LAPD and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Dead Man’s Last Words: ‘Here’s a Good Spot to Shoot, Baby,’ July 25, 1944

  1. mandymarie20 says:

    Is the top comic a Ripley’s comic strip?


  2. Eve says:

    Damn! “Here’s a good spot to shoot, baby” are some pretty hard-core last words, I gotta hand it to him.


  3. aryedirect says:

    One wonders if Angelinos of the era were so steeped in Raymond Chandler that they began speaking the way he wrote. (Or, vice versa).


  4. Mary Fowler Aymar says:

    This was my grandfather’s brother. I grew up with this story because my mother was 14 when the murder occurred. Interestingly, Mildred Cook was not charged with a crime even though she went home and got a gun and came back and shot him. My mother said that it was deemed a crime of passion because William had treated Mildred cruelly as he rejected her which provoked the incident. I think the story was true that she knelt over his body remorseful from the first instant. A domestic instance gone haywire with my great uncle reciting one of the greatest lines I’ve ever heard!


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