Gerald E. "Jerry" Buckley
Was Detroit radio crusader Jerry Buckley murdered because he led a successful recall of the mayor or because he had witnessed a gangland murder? His unsolved case from 1930 leaves that question open.
by Allan May
Radio commentator and crusader Gerald E. "Jerry" Buckley aggressively campaigned for the recall of Detroit Mayor Charles Bowles and the citizens of Detroit responded. When the recall vote was counted, Detroit was due for a new mayor. Less than two hours after signing off from his radio broadcast where he had reported the election results, Buckley was dead. Two gunmen fired 11 slugs into his body as he sat in a hotel lobby, savoring his triumph.
In July 1930 Detroit was enduring a wave of unsolved murders. Buckley’s was the 11th during a 19-day period. It began, ironically, at the place where he lived, with a double murder at the side entrance of the La Salle Hotel, which Buckley himself witnessed. The double slaying took the lives of George Collins and William Cannon, two Chicago area hoodlums.
When Mayor Bowles was asked about the rash of killings, he responded by saying, "It is just as well to let these gangsters kill each other off, if thay are so minded. You have the scientists employ one set of parasites to destroy another. May not that be the plan of Providence in these killings among the bandits?"