On November 20th 1912, “Mad Bomber” Carl Warr enters Los Angeles city jail with 60 sticks of dynamite strapped to himself. After an hour, two detectives attack Warr who then pulls the bomb’ s trigger. Nothing happens, and the freakishly masked bomber begs police to kill him. Warr was sensationalized in the press as the Mad Bomber and the next day, this cover ran on Los Angeles Examiner without mentioning his ‘faulty’ fuse.
The Examiner‘s photographer E.J.Spencer was among 10,000 people who banked against police ropes to follow the story. Spencer went into the jail, where he saw Warr sitting in the corner with the infernal machine in his lap. Everyone warned Spencer of the danger, but he carefully placed his plate camera on a chair and made his picture. The coup was so daring that Examiner credited the photographer as seldom has been done; it read “Here is one of the most remarkable newspaper photographs ever published. It was taken by E. J. Spencer, staff photographer of the Examiner, who risked his life to make the picture.”