On the second day of the Street Carmen strike, scabs armed with heavy caliber revolvers began running street cars out of the car barns. Strike supporters pelted them with stones. The scabs responded with gunfire, although no shots found their mark.
A few blocks later, at Jefferson Square, strikers’ wives “heaped maledictions” on the scabs, according to the San Francisco Call. “With clinched fists the women stood on the sward of the square or leaned from their cottage windows and called down wrath and judgment on the heads of the Farleyites.”
Minutes later it turned into open warfare as scabs recruited by James Farley began firing into the crowds lining the tracks. Masons on top of buildings hurled construction materials at the street cars. The scabs eventually fled into the street, “firing their revolvers point blank into the throng,” with bricks flying “thick as blackbirds in the air.”
Union men commandeered the street cars and ran them back to the car barn. Scabs inside the barn responded with a volley of bullets. “Cries of dismay rang out and helpless women and children stood in the middle of the street, not knowing which way to turn to escape the deadly fusillade,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Ambulances, buggies and delivery carts brought victims to Central Emergency hospital. Four people had received mortal wounds. Another two dozen were injured. The Street Carmen’s union called for Calhoun’s arrest, saying he had “sent out his paid assassins to deal death to the innocent people of California.”