this day in crime history: august 11, 1965

WattsRiot

On this date in 1965, a minor scuffle following a traffic stop in Los Angeles would escalate into what would become known as the Watts riots. The unrest would continue until August 17th. When it was all over, 34 people were killed, over 1000 injured, and 3400 arrested. Almost a thousand buildings, mostly businesses, were damaged or destroyed. Damage was estimated to be about $40 million.

Further reading:

Watts Rebellion (Los Angeles, 1965)

Wikipedia – Watts Riots

this day in crime history: june 4, 1965

bigsprings

On this day in 1965, the Farmers State Bank in Big Springs, NE (pictured above, the building currently serves as the public library) was robbed.

The robber, Duane Earl Pope, had recently graduated from college in Kansas. He got the idea to rob the bank while working near Big Springs while he was in college.

Pope prepared for the heist by renting a car in Salina, KS. He drove to Nebraska armed with a  pistol. He watched the bank and waited for the morning rush of customers to leave. He then went inside, held all four of the bank’s employees at gunpoint and filled a briefcase with about $1600 in cash. Before leaving, he ordered the employees to get face down on the ground, then shot all four of them. Three died, the fourth survived, but was permanently paralyzed.

Pope drove back to Salina, where he returned the rental car. After that, he made a run for the border. Shortly after arriving in Tijuana, he crossed back into the US. He was hiding out in San Diego when he learned that he had been named as the prime suspect in the robbery/homicide back in Nebraska. He celebrated this event by traveling to Las Vegas for some gambling and partying.

Pope was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. The next day after hitting the fugitive’s version of the big leagues, Pope went to Kansas City, MO and turned himself in. He gave police a full written confession. He was extradited from Missouri to Nebraska and was tried in both federal and state courts. Both convicted him of robbery and murder and sentenced him to death. His death sentences were commuted due to the Supreme Court’s Furman v. Georgia decision. He was incarcerated at the federal prison in Leavenworth, KS. until July 1, 2016. On that date he was released into the custody of Nebraska authorities who returned him to the Cornhusker State, where, he still owes three life sentences.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Duane Earl Pope

The McPherson College SpectatorLet Out and Locked Up

FBI – Photo of Duane Earl Pope

this day in crime history: april 25, 1965

SwedishMauser

On this day in 1965, sixteen year old Michael Andrew Clark took up a position overlooking Highway 101 near Orcutt, CA and began shooting at cars as they passed. The night before the shooting spree, Clark stole his parents car and left his home in Long Beach, CA. He brought his father’s pistol and Swedish Mauser rifle (similar to the one pictured above) with him.

During the shooting spree, two people were killed at the scene. Twelve more were injured. One of the injured victims, five year old Kevin Reida, later died from his wound.

Police were called to the scene. As deputies and Highway Patrol officers closed in, Clark did what most of these twisted cowards do: he killed himself.

Further reading:

Google News archive – Eugene Register-Guard, April 26, 1965: Young Sniper on California Hill Kills Two Motorists Injures Twelve

Wikipedia – 1965 Highway 101 sniper attack

Wikipedia – Swedish Mauser

IMDb – Targets (a 1968 movie that was loosely inspired by this incident)

this day in crime history: february 21, 1965

On this date in 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. The three assassins were all members of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X had previously been a member of the NoI, but had left the organization a year earlier after a falling out with the group’s leader, Elijah Muhammad.

All three of the killers were arrested, tried, and convicted. Two of them were paroled in the 1980s. The third was paroled in 2010.

Further reading:

MalcolmX.com

Wikipedia-Malcolm X

this day in crime history: august 11, 1965

WattsRiot

On this date in 1965, a minor scuffle following a traffic stop in Los Angeles would escalate into what would become known as the Watts riots. The unrest would continue until August 17th. When it was all over, 34 people were killed, over 1000 injured, and 3400 arrested. Almost a thousand buildings, mostly businesses, were damaged or destroyed. Damage was estimated to be about $40 million.

Further reading:

Watts Rebellion (Los Angeles, 1965)

Wikipedia – Watts Riots

this day in crime history: june 4, 1965

bigsprings

On this day in 1965, the Farmers State Bank in Big Springs, NE (pictured above, the building currently serves as the public library) was robbed.

The robber, Duane Earl Pope, had recently graduated from college in Kansas. He got the idea to rob the bank while working near Big Springs while he was in college.

Pope prepared for the heist by renting a car in Salina, KS. He drove to Nebraska armed with a  pistol. He watched the bank and waited for the morning rush of customers to leave. He then went inside, held all four of the bank’s employees at gunpoint and filled a briefcase with about $1600 in cash. Before leaving, he ordered the employees to get face down on the ground, then shot all four of them. Three died, the fourth survived, but was permanently paralyzed.

Pope drove back to Salina, where he returned the rental car. After that, he made a run for the border. Shortly after arriving in Tijuana, he crossed back into the US. He was hiding out in San Diego when he learned that he had been named as the prime suspect in the robbery/homicide back in Nebraska. He celebrated this event by traveling to Las Vegas for some gambling and partying.

Pope was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. The next day after hitting the fugitive’s version of the big leagues, Pope went to Kansas City, MO and turned himself in. He gave police a full written confession. He was extradited from Missouri to Nebraska and was tried in both federal and state courts. Both convicted him of robbery and murder and sentenced him to death. His death sentences were commuted due to the Supreme Court’s Furman v. Georgia decision. He is currently incarcerated in the federal prison in Leavenworth, KS. He has a tentative release date of July 1, 2016. If he is released, he still owes three life sentences to the state of Nebraska.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Duane Earl Pope

The McPherson College SpectatorLet Out and Locked Up

FBI – Photo of Duane Earl Pope

this day in crime history: april 25, 1965

SwedishMauser

On this day in 1965, sixteen year old Michael Andrew Clark took up a position overlooking Highway 101 near Orcutt, CA and began shooting at cars as they passed. The night before the shooting spree, Clark stole his parents car and left his home in Long Beach, CA. He brought his father’s pistol and Swedish Mauser rifle (similar to the one pictured above) with him.

During the shooting spree, two people were killed at the scene. Twelve more were injured. One of the injured victims, five year old Kevin Reida, later died from his wound.

Police were called to the scene. As deputies and Highway Patrol officers closed in, Clark did what most of these twisted cowards do: he killed himself.

Further reading:

Google News archive – Eugene Register-Guard, April 26, 1965: Young Sniper on California Hill Kills Two Motorists Injures Twelve

Wikipedia – 1965 Highway 101 sniper attack

Wikipedia – Swedish Mauser

IMDb – Targets (a 1968 movie that was loosely inspired by this incident)