April 3, 1916

Dr. Herman E. Vohs of K.C.K., Dies Without Making Statement.


Bullet From Gun Belonging to Girl; Believed to Be Accident.

Dr. Herman E. Vohs, Kansas City, Kansas Doctor Who Was Shot

Under circumstances which have not been fully explained, Dr. Herman E. Vohs, 28 years old, an instructor at the Kansas City College of Medicine and Surgery, Twenty-third and Holmes streets, was shot through the heart yesterday afternoon in a bedroom adjoining his office, 413 North Sixth street, Kansas City, Kas., in the presence of Miss Volle Pottorff, to whom he was engaged to be married. Despite the nature of the wound he lived until midnight, when he died at St. Margaret's hospital, where he was taken immediately after the shooting.

Dr. Vohs regained consciousness shortly before he died and tried to make a statement. He was too weak, however, to speak and lapsed again into unconsciousness which ended in death.

While the shooting is believed to have been accidental, the exact circumstance, the police say, have not been cleared up. The bullet was fired from a .25-caliber automatic pistol belonging to Miss Pottorff. Dr. H. E. Hobson, a police surgeon, who examined the wound, declared the bullet entered the chest from the left side and ranged downward. Dr. Vohs's own revolver was in a drawer in the office desk. Miss Pottorff said she had given the pistol to Dr. Vohs on Saturday night for him to clean. No one else was in the apartments at the time and Miss Pottorff was the only witness. She was held several hours by the police, then was allowed to go to her home in the care of the police matron.

Dr. Vohs met Miss Pottorff professionally last December. She is 29 years old and is employed by the Visiting Nurse Association of Kansas City, Kas. The two became engaged withnin a onth and were to have been married after Lent. Both were held in the highest regard by their friends. Dr. Vohs was a sergeant in ambulance company No. 1, Missouri national guard.


The couple attended services together yesterday morning at St. Anthony's Catholic church and later ate dinner together at Dr. Voh's boarding place, 500 North seventh street. Then they went to the doctor's office to await the arrival of anohter couple, with whom they intended to go for an outing.

Miss Pottorff said Dr. Vohs went into his bedroom adjoining the office and removed his coat and vest. She also said she removed her own coat and hat and they were seated on the edge of the bed.

"I did not see where he got the pistol from," Miss Pottorff told Chief of Detectives Thomas Fleming. "he did not brandish the gun around and the first thing I knew I was startled by the report of a shot. He staggered to his feet. I said, 'Oh dearie, I believe you're shot." He said, 'I believe I am.' I ran out of the room to go for help. I was so frightened I could not think of the telephone numbers of any physicians, so I ran to the drug store across the street. Then a couple of men came in and helpted take care of him.

The two men were C. T. Burnett, a druggist, Sixth street and Elizabeth avenue, and Joseph Stewart, his clerk. They told the police they found the doctor lying on the bed with his feet protruding through the ironwork at the foot, almost to the floor. He was unconscious, they said, and writhing in pain. The pistol was lying on the floor at the side of the bed. Dr. Vohs was taken to St. Margaret's hospital. On account of the nature of the wound it was believed that an attempt to probe would cause immediate death.


Miss Pottorff was taken to police headquarters by Patrolmen George Chess and John Mogle. She wept over the injury to her fiance, but gave her version of the shooting to Chief Fleming with the utmost frankness. She told the police that she had never quarreled with Dr. Vohs and that "her love was not of the sentimental type." She also declared that the idea of suicide on his part was preposterous. She said he was of a cheerful disposition and had no cause to be moody.

The point which puzzles the police is the angle at which the bullet entered Dr. Vohs's body. Late lst night Chief Fleming announced he believed the shooting had been accidental. He said he believed the movable barrel of the pistol had jammed and the doctor had held it high across his chest to release it. Chief Fleming said he believed Dr. Vohs did not understand the mechanism of an automatic pistol and had fallen a victim through ignorance.

Miss Pottorff was graduated from the Bethany Nurse's Training school, Kansas City, Kas., in 1913. She has been employed by the visiting Nurse Association since November and officials of that organization said last night she was one of the most efficient workers. Her parents reside at Louisburg, Kas. Dr. Voh's parents reside at Paola, Kas., and he has been a resident of Kansas City for eight years.

Coroner J. A. Davis ordered the body of Vohs sent to the Fairweather undertaking establishment, where a post mortem examination will be held today.