Police questioned Gunn, suspiciously claiming he quickly confessed. If his confession was coerced, it wouldn’t be the first time police forced false confessions from a Black person.
Gunn was arrested, but he wouldn’t remain in jail for long.
A mob of 2,000 whites kidnapped Gunn, and police watched them drag him towards the schoolhouse. They refused to call State Guardsmen for backup, even though they were stationed nearby!
White men, women, and children cheered as Gunn was chained to the schoolhouse roof and soaked in gasoline. Gunn pleaded his innocence – as he and the building went up in flames.
The crowd watched Gunn’s flesh melt from his writhing body – it took him 11 minutes to die. Afterwards, the mob dug through the wreckage for souvenirs, some squealing with excitement as they pocketed Gunn’s teeth.
Gunn’s lynching terrified local Black residents of Maryville, MI, 20% of whom fled town.
While Gunn was lynched in 1930, the violence inflicted upon him exists within America’s current criminal legal system. Forced confessions and extrajudicial killings remain FAR too common!