Sunny weather in Pendleton brought out weapons of wet destruction in May of 1953, but police were forced to enact a ban on water guns when unsuspecting adults were caught in the crossfire.

Police Chief Ralph Bond laid down the law to local teens (and soon-to-be teens) on May 5, 1953, after several grown-ups complained they were the victims of surprise attacks. The first reported victim was a man who was accidentally soaked on Main Street by a 13-year-old boy. The boy was chased into a nearby business by the man and allegedly assaulted when he was caught. The man was charged with disorderly conduct, and the boy was turned over to his father with a severe warning from the police.

Next, a woman driving her car on Main Street was shot in the face by teenage boys in a passing car as she made the turn onto Emigrant Avenue. Phyllis Fields in her complaint said she nearly lost control of her car and could have caused a disastrous wreck. And Pat Faro of Echo claimed he was the victim of “heavy artillery” when high school-age boys in a passing car doused him from what he suggested was a high-pressure tank of some sort.

Chief Bond instructed his officers to be on the lookout for anyone wielding a water weapon. “If a couple of youngsters want to engage in a water gun fight in their own yards, that’s OK, but if any more youngsters are caught shooting water guns in public places, either from cars or afoot, they’ll wind up in the city jail charged with disorderly conduct,” Chief Bond said in his ultimatum.

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