John LaPan was a well-known policeman in the early years of the village of Saranac Lake. In 1902 he tried to kill village president, Dr. John C. Russell.
Malone Palladium, March 6, 1902
ATTEMPTED MURDER AND SUICIDE
John Lapan, formerly a well-known policeman at Saranac Lake, attempted murder and suicide at Saranac Lake last Friday evening. Lapan, who had formerly borne a good reputation as a citizen and an officer, had been drinking hard for a week, and he had a grievance against Dr. Russell, who is president of the village. It is said that he was jealous of Dr. Russell, on account of the latter's alleged actions toward Lapan’s wife, and Lapan had threatened to kill him. It is generally believed, however, that Lapan had no reason whatever for his insane jealousy, and that whiskey alone is the cause of his hallucination. He made so many threats that his revolver was taken away from him, and he found it impossible to buy another one in town, every merchant refusing to sell him one. He went to Utica last week and purchased a revolver and a bottle of laudanum. Lapan then returned to Saranac Lake, and on Friday evening, when the village trustees were holding their regular meeting, he entered the room, and deliberately aimed his revolver at Dr. Russell and fired three times. The first shot struck the doctor's arm, the bullet passing between the two bones and making only a flesh wound. The second shot struck the doctor's watch, which was over the heart, and probably saved the doctor's life, and the bullet glanced around the body, leaving a black and blue mark. The third shot struck the chair and glanced off, striking Dr. Wicker, who was attending the meeting, in his foot. The shots were fired in quick succession, but before the man could fire again he was roughly seized by men in the room and disarmed. He then informed them that he had taken laudanum, and a third physician was summoned. The physician first attended to the wounds of his two colleagues, and then gave his attention to Lapan. Lapan’s life was saved, and before he was removed to a place of safety an angry crowd of citizens gathered and the policemen had considerable trouble in protecting the prisoner from violence.
District Attorney Main went to Saranac Lake and held an examination, with the result that Lapan was brought to Malone and confined in jail, to be held for the grand jury.
Lapan is about 45 years old and has a wife and five children. His father, John H. Lapan, is proprietor of a hotel in Cherubusco and is a man of means. He was formerly a keeper at Dannemora prison and he was also, at one time, a U. S. customs official at Ellenburgh.
[Thanks to the Tupper Lake: Early Beginnings Facebook page for alerting us to this story.]