Still another murder took place back in 1908, when the Congress was still known as The Auditorium Annex.
This one took place out in front of the theatre at 6 o’clock on the evening of January 3rd, as countless Michigan Avenue spectators looked on. The whole thing was the result of a love triangle involving Mrs. Ruby Rishzak, her husband, William, and Charles Gilbert Brockett, who was a floor walker at some department store on State with whom Ruby was having an affair. Brockett shot Ruby, then shot himself in the head. He died two hours later, but Ruby survived.
Exactly what happened was hard to determine. Some said that the shooting came about because Ruby said she was going back to her husband, but one neighbor said she had claimed that “they would have to ship me away in a box” to get her back to her husband. She had left him some time before, but emerged periodically to say she didn’t have enough to eat until he agreed to pay her $30 a month.
And Brocket had certainly taken steps to make it look like a suicide pact. In his pockets were several notes, including one requesting a masonic funeral (which was granted), and one reading “put Ruby and I side by side. We choose to die together. Our acts are one of love.”
However, Ruby and her husband reconciled while she was in the hospital. The newspapers, meanwhile, had a regular field day talking about “The ruby red blood of Ruby Pishzak.” Outside of a general refusal to talk about sex, taste was a concept somewhat unknown to newspapers a century ago.