In November 1933, Brooke Hart, a close friend of Coogan's from Santa Clara University, was kidnapped from his family-owned department store in San Jose and brought to the San Francisco area San Mateo - Hayward Bridge. After several demands for a $40,000 ransom, police arrested Thomas Thurmond and John Holmes in San Jose. Thurmond admitted that Hart had been murdered on the night he was kidnapped. Both men were then transferred to a prison in San Jose, California. A mob later broke into the building; Thurmond and Holmes were then hanged in an adjacent park. Coogan was reported to be among the mob that prepared and held the lynching rope.
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