Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Assailant Gus Le Brun, Deputy Constable Ed Brown Killed in Gun Battle.

Rejection by former actress drives local man to madness.

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Murdered Deputy


News Reports 1924


Death Cert 1924


Headstone 1924

"Bad Man" and Officer Slain.

Battle Fought on Ranch of Actress Near Saugus.

The romance of Gus LeBrun, Spanish, French and Indian "bad man" of the Newhall Mountains, ended yesterday in tragedy for himself and another. LeBrun was shot dead and Deputy Constable Ed Brown of Saugus died later in the General Hospital here after a game fight for life, with the chances all against him.

The cause of the tragedy was Miss Nellie Bayles, who used the stage name of Bonita Darling, a former actress and present pigeon fancier on her small hillside ranch covered with grease wood and scrub oak.

LeBrun, according to evidence disclosed by the investigation of Capt. Bright, head of the Sheriff's homicide squad, has been man of all work about Miss Darling's place for the past year, in the intervals of pursuing his trade as well driller. They appear to have been engaged, or at least LeBrun thought so, but some time last week she told him finally she would not marry him. This precipitated a quarrel that brought in the authorities on Miss Darling's complaint.

Voices Threat.

The well driller intended, the authorities judged from a letter he left behind him, to slay Miss Darling and then himself, but seems not to have been able to bring himself to the point of harming her. He appeared at her cabin and made threats Friday night, after having been warned away by Constable Pilcher, and Saturday Miss Darling appealed again to Justice Miller at Newhall, who had LeBrun called in. The well driller asserted Miss Darling owed him money. She finally compromised this claim by signing a note for $150.

Saturday night LeBrun again appeared at her little bungalow, somewhat the worse for liquor, and repeated his threats, declaring also he would "get" the officers if they came for him.

So yesterday Miss Darling again appealed to the constable, and Pilcher and Brown went out, armed and expecting trouble. As they came near the ranch, they were hailed by LeBrun, hidden behind a brush, and warned to stop. They ducked and drove ahead, and LeBrun opened fire with a repeating rifle.

SCV Historical Society collection.

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Ex-Star Complaint Ends in Fatal Duel.

Los Angeles, Sept. 14 — Gus Lebrun, well driller of Newhall, north of here, was killed today in a gun battle with two constables who attempted to arrest him on the complaint of Miss Nellie Bailes [sic: Bayles], formerly known to the stage as Bonita Darling. One of the constables, Ed Brown, was critically wounded.

News story courtesy of Jason Brice.

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