Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1928, October 17 - Sabotage Attempts at Ottawa Union station

Ottawa Citizen 19 October 1928

Ex-Railway Hand Faces Grave Charge
Sequel to Narrow Escape of Switchman While Handling Important Trains.
Although he professed ignorance of any reason why he should be accused. Sam Gallo, 312 Cumberland street, in police court this morning was arraigned on three serious charges and was remanded until Tuesday by Magistrate William Joynt.

On October 17, while John J. Burke, a switchman employed by the Canadian National Railways, was operating a switch for outgoing passenger trains, a large rock was thrown from the Laurier avenue bridge and landed near him. The rock was wrapped in paper, tied with string and an elastic band. Had Mr. Burke been disabled the outgoing train would have gone through an open switch and would have been derailed. On October 3 another similar stone had been thrown from the bridge at the switchman when he was setting the switch for an outgoing Toronto train.

Breton B. Harris, special agent of the C.N. Rly, who investigated the case, laid a charge against Gallo who was a former employe of the railway. He was discharged, a year ago and Burke was doing the work he formerly performed. In addition to the stone throwing, the railway authorities during the last few weeks found that several switches had been opened. When arrested, Gallo had a switch key in his possession.

The first charge was for attempting to murder John James Burke by throwing or dropping a stone with the object of striking him. The second charge was less serious: throwing a stone with intent to injure John J. Burke, a person then being upon the Canadian National Railway. The third charge was for throwing a stone at John J. Burke, a switchman of the C.N. Rly., then In the exercise of his duty, with intent to injure or to endanger the safety of persons travelling or being upon the Canadian National Railway.

"Why did they charge me?" he asked the magistrate. "Who laid the charge, the company or someone else?"
He was given no information pending the hearing of his case. The stones were Nepean sandstone blocks such as used in pavements on the street railway right of way, and weighed eight or ten pounds.

Ottawa Citizen 30 October 1928

Alleged Stone Thrower Must Face Grave Charge.
In police court this morning, Sam Gallo, 312 Cumberland street, was committeed for trial by Magistrate William Joynt on a charge of attempted murder. The case arises out of a large pavement block thrown from the Laurier avenue bridge on October 17. The stone landed near-John James Burke, a Canadian National Railway switchman who was turning a switch. Burke and other witnesses were positive that Gallo, a former employe of the railway, was the man they saw on the bridge after the stone was thrown. The stone weight 8 1/2 pounds
Gallo had been on remand on three charges since Oct. 19. Evidence was taken in onlv one case, but Crown Attorney J. A. Ritchie said the other counts could be included in the indictment in the higher court.

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Updated 18 December 2020