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By the end of the day, four students are dead, nine are injured, the campus is closed and Kent becomes the historical icon of the antiwar protest movement. The events of the day continue to be debated. Here are excerpts from the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest about what evolved and why…
*Please be advised, some of these audio recordings contain explicit language
Excerpts from the President's Commission on Campus Unrest – Scranton Report The Call for a Rally
"As they lined up opposite students on the Commons shortly before noon, the three National Guard units involved in the Kent State shooting had had an average of three hours of sleep the night before. ...
The Education Building was closed at 7:45 a.m., before classes began, because of a bomb threat. ... In many of the classes that did meet, the events of the weekend were the chief topic of discussion.
A call for a noon rally on the Commons was passed around the campus by word of mouth and by announcements chalked on classroom blackboards. The precise purpose was not made clear, but most students assumed it was to protest the presence of the National Guard, which by now was resented by many students, even by many who held no deep political beliefs.
Dr. McMillen warns his students about participating in the noon rally during his 11am political science class
...Canterbury returned to Guard headquarters in the administration building at Kent State about 11:30 a.m. Two Guard officers present recall that, upon his return, he stated that the noon rally on the Commons would not be permitted. Major John Simons, chaplain of the 107th Armored Cavalry Regiment, expressed concern that the students might be unaware that the noon rally had been prohibited. He said a campus official told him that the university radio station would "spread the word." Throughout the morning, guardsmen patrolled the campus without notable incident.
A Crowd Begins to Gather - 11:00am
About 11:00 a.m., students began gathering on the Commons, apparently for a variety of reasons. Some had heard vaguely that a rally would be held. Some came to protest the presence of the Guard. Some were simply curious, or had free time because their classes had been canceled. Some students stopped by on their way to or from lunch or class. The Commons is a crossroads between several major university buildings.
Many students who described themselves as "straight," or conservative, later attributed their presence at the rally to a desire to protest against the National Guard. This attitude was reflected in the testimony of one Kent State coed before the Commission:
Q: What were your feelings at the time when you saw them (the Guard on May 3)?
A: I just really couldn't believe it. It was a very unreal feeling to walk up on your Front Campus and see these armed troops. You know, like you had been invaded , in a way. ... I just couldn't believe the Guards were on campus. It was mostly, just outrage and disgust and fear, and all sorts of crazy things. I just couldn't believe that my campus had been taken over by Guards. You know, they said I couldn't cross the campus, they said we can't assemble on the campus. ...
This coed was gassed on the Commons, moved back over Blanket Hill to the Prentice Hall parking lot, and was within three feet of Allison Krause when Miss Krause was killed.
General Canterbury reached the Commons between 11:30 and 11:40 a.m. with Lt. Col. Charles R. Fassinger, commander of the Second Squadron of the107th Armored Cavalry*. Canterbury told a Commission investigator he did not feel that the crowd represented a significant threat at that time.
The Guard Makes Its First Move
Fassinger estimated that by 11:45 the crowd had grown to more than 500. The principal group gathered around the Victory Bell about 170 yards across the Commons from the burned-out ROTC building,. ... Canterbury ordered the crowd dispersed.
Fassinger then ordered troops to form up by the ruins of the ROTC building. Some 40 to 50 men from Company A, about 35 to 45 men from Company C, and 18 men from Troop G were hurriedly assembled. Those who had not already done so were ordered to "lock and load" their weapons. By this process, an M-1 rifle is loaded with an eight-round clip of .30 caliber ball ammunition, and one bullet is moved up into the chamber ready to fire. The weapon will then fire immediately after the safety mechanism is disengaged and the trigger is pulled. Throughout the weekend, whenever guardsmen were on duty, their weapons were locked and loaded.
A Kent State policeman, Harold E. Rice, stood near the ROTC ruins and, using a bullhorn, ordered the students to disperse. It is doubtful that Rice was heard over the noise of the crowd. ... The students responded with curses and stones. Some chanted "Pigs off campus" and "One, two, three, four, we don't want your f****ing war." Rocks bounced off the jeep, and Rice said the occupants were hit several times.
Crowd chants "Pigs off campus" while being ordered to disperse
... At 11:58 a.m., as the jeep returned, Canterbury ordered the 96 men and seven officers to form a skirmish line, shoulder to shoulder, and to move out across the Commons toward the students. Each man's weapon was locked and loaded. Canterbury estimated the size of the crowd on the Commons at about 800; another 1,000 or more persons were sitting or milling about on the hills surrounding the Commons. His goal as he moved out was to disperse the crowd.
After the event, Canterbury was asked several times to indicate the authority under which he had issued his order to disperse the crowd. On May 8, 1970, he told an FBI agent that his order was based on the proclamation of Governor Rhodes on April 29 mobilizing the Guard for a Teamsters' strike. ...
... On August 20, 1970, Canterbury testified ... "The assemblies were not to be permitted because of the previous two days of rioting and to permit an assembly at this point would have been dangerous. This was my assessment, as well as the assessment of the President of the University, and the other authorities present."
The Rally Begins at the Victory Bell - 12:00pm
Shortly before noon, students began to ring the Victory Bell. Two generalized emotions seem to have prevailed among the 2,000 or so young persons who were now on or near the Commons. One was a vague feeling that something worth watching or participating in would occur that something was going to happen and that the Guard would respond. The other was antipathy to the Guard, bitter in some cases, accompanied by the feeling that the Guard, although fully backed by official pronouncements, was somehow "trespassing" on the students' own territory.
A majority of the crowd was watching the tableau from the patio of Taylor Hall and from the slopes around the adjacent buildings of Prentice, Johnson, and Stopher Halls. The hills made a natural amphitheater from which students could watch events on the Commons floor. Most of the onlooking students could not be described-as neutral: in almost any quarrel between students and guardsmen, they would take the side of their fellow students.
The troops lined up with fixed bayonets across the northwestern corner of the Commons. ... Eight to ten grenadiers with M-79 grenade launchers fired two volleys of tear gas canisters at the crowd, which began to scatter. Canterbury, in civilian clothes and unarmed, was in command. At the age of 55, he had 23 years of military experience behind him and had served during many previous civil disturbances in Ohio, including ones in Akron and in the Hough section of Cleveland. The Ohio National Guard units Canterbury commanded were also experienced in dealing with disorders. General Del Corso testified that since his appointment as adjutant general on April 1, 1968, the Guard has been mobilized by Governor Rhodes approximately 30 times for civil disturbances. ...
The Guard Starts Firing Tear Gas
The day was bright and sunny, and a 14-mile-an-hour breeze was blowing. The tear gas did not at first scatter all the students: the wind blew some of the gas away; the aim of some of the grenadiers was poor, causing many who were only spectators to be gassed; and some of the students picked up the tear gas canisters and threw them back. Canterbury ordered the troops to move out.
The guardsmen were wearing gas masks. Company A was on the right flank, Company C was on the left flank, and Troop G was in the middle. Moving out with the men were Canterbury, Fassinger, and the third in command, Major Harry D. Jones. ...
Protesters react to the Ohio National Guard firing tear gas at them
The Guard Marches Up Blanket Hill
The guardsmen marched across the flat Commons, the students scattering before them up a steep hill beyond the Victory Bell. ...
When Canterbury reached the crest of Blanket Hill, however, he concluded that it would be necessary to push the students beyond a football practice field which lay about 80 yards below the crest of Blanket Hill.
By this time the crowd seemed more united in mood. The feeling had spread among students that they were being harassed as "a group, that state and civic officials had united against them, and that the university had either cooperated or acquiesced in their suppression. They reacted to the guardsmen’s march with substantial solidarity. They shouted, "Pigs off campus," and called the guardsmen "green pigs" and "fascist bastards."
Rocks flew as the guardsmen marched across the Commons. ...The antagonism between guardsmen and students increased. The guardsmen generally felt that the students, who had disobeyed numerous orders to disperse, were clearly in the wrong. The razing of the ROTC building had shown them that these noisy youths were capable of considerable destruction.
Protesters chant "1,2,3,4..."
Many students felt that the campus was their "turf." Unclear about the authority vested in the Guard by the governor, or indifferent to it, some also felt that their constitutional right to free assembly was being infringed upon. As they saw it, they had been ordered to disperse at a time when no rocks had been thrown and no other violence had been committed. Many told interviewers later, "We weren't doing anything."
The guardsmen marched down the east slope of Blanket Hill, across an access road, and onto the football practice field, which is fenced in on three sides. The crowd parted to let them down the hill to the field and then reformed in two loose groups-one on Blanket Hill, above the football field, and the other in the Prentice Hall parking lot at the north end of the field. The crowd on the parking lot was unruly and threw many missiles at guardsmen on the football field. ... Nearby construction projects provided an ample supply of rocks.
... After the Guard would shoot a canister, students sometimes would pick it up and lob it back ... In some cases, guardsmen would pick up the same canister and throw it at the students. Some among the crowd came to regard the situation as a game -- "a tennis match" one called it -- and cheered each exchange of tear gas canisters. Only a few students participated in this game, however. One of them was Jeffrey Glenn Miller. A few minutes later, Miller was fatally shot. ...
While on the football field, about a dozen guardsmen knelt and pointed their weapons at the students in the Prentice Hall parking lot, apparently as a warning... Whether any shot was fired on the field is in dispute.
Richard A. Schreiber, an assistant professor of journalism at Kent State, said he was watching the action through binoculars from the balcony of Taylor Hall when he saw an officer fire one shot from a .45 caliber automatic pistol ... over the heads of rock-throwers in a nearby parking lot. Sgt. James W. Fariss of Company A said an officer whom he did not know fired one shot ...
The next day, Tuesday, Specialist Fourth Class Gerald Lee Scalf found a spent .22 caliber shell casing near the edge of the football field. Major Jones was the only officer on the field with a .22 caliber pistol, a Beretta automatic. He said he did not fire this pistol on the football field or at any time on Monday.
The Guard Retraces Their Steps
After the guardsmen had been on the football field for about 10 minutes, Canterbury concluded that his dispersal mission had been sufficiently accomplished. He ordered his troops to retrace their steps back up Blanket Hill. He also thought -- wrongly-- that his men had exhausted their supply of tear gas. ... Canterbury made no check to determine if tear gas was still available before the order to move out was given.
...The Guard's march from Blanket Hill to the football field and back did not disperse the crowd and seems to have done little else than increase tension, subject guardsmen to needless abuse, and encourage the most violent and irresponsible elements in the crowd to harass the Guard further. ...
The Crowd Grows More Unruly
... Some students grew more aggressive. A small group of two to four dozen followed the Guard closely. Some came as close as 20 yards, shouting and jeering and darting back and forth. One Guard officer said some students approached as close as six inches from the end of the guardsmen's bayonets. None of the many photographs examined by Commission investigators show any students to have been this close.
Many witnesses said that during the Guard's return march, the intensity of rock-throwing appeared to diminish. The witnesses also said that most rock-throwers remained so far away from the guardsmen that most of their stones fell short, but several guardsmen were hit and some rocks bounced off their helmets. Other student witnesses said the rock-throwing never slackened, and some say it grew heavier as the Guard mounted the hill.
The movements of the crowd in the last minute or two before the firing are the subject of considerable dispute.
General Canterbury ... gave this description:
"As the troop formation reached the area of the Pagoda a near Taylor Hall, the mob located on the right flank in front of Taylor Hall and in the Prentice Hall parking lot charged our right flank, throwing rocks, yelling obscenities and threats, 'Kill the pigs,' 'Stick the pigs.' The attitude of the crowd at this point was menacing and vicious.
... I saw Major Jones hit in the stomach by a large brick, a guardsman to the right and rear of my position was hit by a large rock and fell to the ground. During this movement, practically all of the guardsmen were hit by missiles of various kinds. Guardsmen on the right flank were in serious danger of bodily harm and death as the mob continued to charge. I felt that, in view of the extreme danger to the troops at this point, that they were justified in firing."
General Canterbury also testified that the closest students were within four to five yards of the Guard. In the direction the Guard fired, however, photographs show an open space in front of the guardsmen of at least 20 yards. To their side, the nearest student, one of several on the terrace of Taylor Hall, was at-least 15 yards away. The nearest person wounded, Joseph. Lewis, Jr., who was 20 yards away, said there was no one between him and the Guard. The closest person killed, Jeffrey Glenn Miller, was at least 85 yards away.
An 8-millimeter motion picture film, taken by an amateur cameraman from a point approximately 500 yards northeast of the firing line, indicates that the main body of aggressive students was about 60 to 75 yards away ...
The Crowd Scatters Around the Area
As the guardsmen left the practice field on their way back up Blanket Hill, they encountered a crowd of several hundred students ... The crowd divided to let the Guard through. A small gathering of 25 to 50 persons stood on the crest of Blanket Hill. As the Guard approached them, they retreated down the west slope of the hill and away from the scene of action. About 100 persons stood on the east terrace of Taylor Hall, watching the guardsmen approach the adjacent hill. They are not known to have thrown any rocks and seem to have been spectators throughout. Perhaps another 100 persons withdrew from the edge of the practice field to slope just below the east side of the hall. They threw some rocks.
A crowd of about 200 persons near Johnson Hall had generally watched the guardsmen pass by and had not followed them to the football field and back. As the Guard crossed the road that lies between the football field and the foot of Blanket Hill, perhaps 200 persons moved off to the left of the troops through the trees toward Lake Hall. Among them was student James D. Russell, subsequently wounded as he stood more than 100 yards from the firing line on Blanket Hill.
In the Prentice Hall parking lot, to one side of the withdrawing Guard, were some 100 to 200 students, some throwing rocks, others carrying books. At the time of the firing, some thought the action was over and had started away toward classes, including student Douglas Wrentmore, whose back was toward the guardsmen when the firing began.
About 20 to 50 persons formed the most conspicuous part of the crowd. .... In this group were those most active in throwing rocks. ... Included in this group of 20 to 50 were two young men, one carrying a red flag and the other a black flag ...particularly aggressive, cursing and jeering the guardsmen, following and pursuing them at a range varying from about 20 to 80 yards. At the time of the firing, most of this group was just south of the Prentice Hall parking lot. ...
Movie film and testimony indicate that as guardsmen reached the top of the hill, some students surged from the east face of Taylor Hall and the southern end of the parking lot up toward the guardsmen on Blanket Hill. ... The leading edge of this crowd appears to have advanced to a point no closer than 20 yards from the guardsmen, with the main body 60 to 75 yards away, before the gunfire began and they reversed their direction. It is possible that some of them had no aggressive intent but instead began running up the hill in the direction of the Guard to get a good vantage point on Blanket Hill after, as they expected, the guardsmen retreated down the far side of the slope.
Near the crest of Blanket Hill stands the Pagoda, a square bench made of 4-by-4 wooden beams and shaded by a concrete umbrella. The events which occurred as the Guard reached the Pagoda, turned, and fired on the students, are in bitter dispute.
Shots Fired - 12:25pm
...Fassinger had removed his gas mask to see more clearly. He said the guardsmen had reached a point between the Pagoda and Taylor Hall, and he was attempting to maintain them in a reasonably orderly formation, when he heard a sound like a shot, which was immediately followed by a volley of shots. He saw the troops on the Taylor Hall end of the line shooting. He yelled, "Cease fire!" and ran along the line repeating the command.
Major Jones said he first heard an explosion which he thought was a firecracker. As he turned to his left, he heard another explosion which he knew to be an M-1 rifle shot. As he turned to his right, toward Taylor Hall, he said he saw guardsmen kneeling (photographs show some crouching) and bringing their rifles to their shoulders. He heard another M-1 shot, and then a volley of them. He yelled, "Cease fire!" several times, and rushed down the line shoving rifle barrels up and away from the crowd. He hit several guardsmen on their helmets with his swagger stick to stop them from firing.
General Canterbury stated that he first heard a single shot, which he thought was fired from some distance away on his left and which in his opinion did not come from a military weapon. Immediately afterward, he heard a volley of M-1 fire from his right. .... His first reaction, like that of Fassinger and Jones, was to stop the firing. Canterbury, Fassinger, and Jones -- the three ranking officers on the hill -- all said no order to fire was given.
Twenty-eight guardsmen have acknowledged firing from Blanket Hill. Of these, 25 fired 55 shots from rifles, two fired five shots from .45 caliber pistols, and one fired a single blast from a shotgun. Sound tracks indicate that the firing of these 61 shots lasted approximately 13 seconds. The time of the shooting was approximately 12:25 p.m.
Four persons were killed and nine were wounded. As determined by the FBI, their distances from the firing line and the types of wounds they received were as follows:
Joseph Lewis, Jr., 20 yards, wounded in the right abdomen and the left lower leg.
Thomas V. Grace, 20 yards, wounded in the left ankle.
John R. Cleary, 37 yards, wounded in the left upper chest.
Allen Michael Canfora, 75 yards, wounded in the right wrist.
Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 85 to 90 yards, killed by a shot in the mouth.
Dean R. Kahler, 95 to 100 yards, wounded in the left side of the small of his back. A bullet fragment lodged in his spine, and he is paralyzed from the waist down.
Douglas Alan Wrentmore, 110 yards, wounded in the right knee.
Allison B. Krause, 110 yards, killed by a bullet that passed through her left upper arm and into her left side
James Dennis Russell, 125 to 130 yards, wounded in the right thigh and right forehead
William K. Schroeder, 130 yards, killed by a shot in the left back at the seventh rib.
Sandra Lee Scheuer,130 yards, killed by a shot through the left front side of the neck.
Robert Stamps, 165 yards, wounded in the right buttock.
Donald Scott Mackenzie, 245 to 250 yards, wounded in the left rear of the neck.
Of the casualties, two were shot in the front, seven from the side, and four from the rear. All 13 were students at Kent State University.
Crowd calls for another ambulance
Schroeder and Kahler were hit while lying prone. MacKenzie and Canfora were wounded while running away from the line of fire. Russell and Stamps were apparently hit by ricochets. Two of the casualties, Lewis and Russell, were wounded twice.
Of the 25 riflemen who admitted firing, 21 said they fired their 41 shots either into the air or into the ground. Four riflemen acknowledged firing nine of their total of 14 shots into the crowd.
Two men fired pistols: one said he fired two shots into the crowd and the other said he fired three shots into the air. The guardsman who fired a shotgun said he fired a single
blast into the air. Russell was wounded by shotgun pellets believed to have ricocheted off nearby trees. The guardsmen admit firing a total of only 11 rounds into the crowd. Besides the 15 wounds sustained by the casualties, however, a number of parked cars in the Prentice Hall parking lot afterward showed bullet holes.
Crowd calls for 2 more ambulances
Guardsmen have claimed that they were under an increasingly heavy barrage of rocks and other objects as they advanced back up Blanket Hill and that students rushed toward them threateningly. Many indicated that they began firing when they heard one or some of their fellow guardsmen open fire.
Although General Canterbury said his men were "not panic stricken," it is clear that many of them were frightened. Many suffered bruises and abrasions from stones, although only one guardsman, Sgt Dennis L. Breckenridge, required overnight hospitalization. He passed out from hyperventilation...
...A few students and a few guardsmen claim to have heard something like an order to fire. One student testified to the Commission that he saw an officer raise and lower his pistol just before the firing, possibly as a signal to shoot. The weight of the evidence indicates, however, that no command to fire was given, either by word or by gesture.
As the shooting began, students scattered and ran. In the parking lot behind Prentice Hall, where two were killed and two were wounded, students dove behind parked cars and attempted to flatten themselves on the pavement. On the slope east of Taylor Hall, where four were wounded, students scrambled behind a metal sculpture, rolled down the incline, or sought cover behind trees. The scene was one of pell-mell disorder and fight.
Many thought the guardsmen were firing blanks. When the shooting stopped and they rose and saw students bleeding, the first reaction of most was shock. Jeffrey Miller lay on the pavement of an access road, blood streaming from his mouth.
Then the crowd grew angry. They screamed and some called the guardsmen "murderers." Some tried to give first aid. One vainly attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Sandra Lee Scheuer, one of the fatalities. Knots of students gathered around those who had fallen.
Sandra Lee Scheuer, 20, a junior, is believed to have been on her way to a 1:10 p.m. class in the Music and Speech Building when she was struck. She has not been identified in any available photographs as having attended the prohibited noon rally on the Commons.
Allison B. Krause, 19, a freshman, was among the group of students gathered on the Commons by the Victory Bell shortly before noon. After her death, small fragments of concrete and cinder block were found in the pockets of her jacket.
Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 20, a junior, was present in the crowd on the Commons when the dispersal order was given and made obscene gestures with his middle finger at guardsmen. He also threw back a tear gas canister at the Guard while it was on the football practice field.
William K. Schroeder, 19, a sophomore, was an ROTC cadet. A photograph shows him retreating up Blanket Hill from the rally on the Commons, but he is not shown taking part in any of the harassment of the Guard.
No evidence was found to establish that any of the casualties were under the influence of drugs at the time of the confrontation. A marijuana cigarette was found in a pocket of the jacket used to cover one of the wounded students, Cleary, after he was injured. Cleary's father said, however, that the jacket did not belong to Cleary.
At the moment of the firing, most of the nine wounded students were far beyond a range at which they could have presented any immediate physical threat to the Guard.
The closest casualties -- Lewis, Grace, and Cleary-- were all within 20 to 40 yards. At the moment shooting began, Lewis was standing between Taylor Hall and the metal sculpture, making obscene gestures at guardsmen with the middle finger of his right hand. Cleary was standing on the other side of the sculpture, which was perforated by a bullet. Grace was near them, but a little farther away from Taylor Hall. His actions are not known.
Canfora, who said he had been chanting antiwar slogans earlier, had started to run for cover behind cars in Prentice Hall parking lot when he was hit. Kahler was standing at the northwest corner of the football field, beyond stone-throwing range, when the firing began. He dropped to the ground and was hit while prone.
Wrentmore was in the Prentice Hall parking lot and said he walking away to a class when he heard the firing begin, turned, and was wounded.
Russell, apparently hit by a ricochet, was standing far away from all the other casualties, near Lake Hall and Memorial Gymnasium.
Stamps, tear gassed on the Commons, had just left Prentice Hall after washing tear gas off his face. He was wounded in Prentice Hall parking lot as he tied to run away from the firings.
Mackenzie, the casualty most distant from the Guard, said he heard the firing begin and had turned to run when he was hit. The entire length of Prentice Hall parking lot and the east slope of Blanket Hill lay between him and the Guard.
After the shooting, students ran to Taylor, Prentice, and Dunbar Halls to telephone for ambulances. Others ran down to the Commons screaming for ambulances. Several minutes passed before the ambulances came. Students linked their arms and formed rings around the bodies to keep them from further injury. Some students wept. Others wandered around dazed.
The shooting on Blanket Hill was done principally by members of Troop G and Company A. Company C, except for two members who went down to the football field and returned to Blanket Hill with the main body of troops, remained at the northern end of Taylor Hall where they had been dispatched by General Canterbury. The C Company members at that position, which is at the opposite end of Taylor Hall from Blanket Hill, did not fire their weapons.
After the firing, the C Company commander, Capt. Snyder, took seven men down to the Prentice Hall parking lot to render first aid. He looked at two young men who had fallen, probably Miller and Schroeder, but concluded both were dead. While the detachment was in the vicinity of the body of Jeffrey Miller, enraged students began to scream at them. The guardsmen responded by throwing a tear gas pellet at the student group. Capt. Snyder withdrew his unit to its original position and then back across the Commons, leaving the casualties where they had fallen. Many students subsequently believed that no guardsmen made any effort to render first aid after the shootings and added this to their catalogue of charges against the troops.
After the Shots
The scene after the shooting was tense, and there was a possibility of further trouble. After an ambulance removed Miller's body, a demonstrator who had carried a black flag during the confrontation dipped the flag into the pool of Miller's blood and waved it at nearby students in an apparent effort to inflame them further.
Canterbury withdrew his troops to the Commons almost immediately. He ordered a weapons check to determine how many guardsmen fired how many rounds. He also ordered that no more rounds be fired except at a specified target and upon an officer's order.
After the casualties were removed, students began to gather again on the hills overlooking the Commons. The largest concentration, varying from 200 to 300, congregated on the slope below Johnson Hall at one corner of the Commons. Many of them would later have trouble describing their emotions.
Professor Glenn W. Frank obtained permission from General Canterbury to allow faculty marshals to attempt to persuade this crowd to leave without further military action. Frank and Dr. Seymour H. Baron, who had a bullhorn, persuaded the students to sit down instead of milling around. Baron warned the students they might be shot if they approached the guardsmen again. "They're scared to death," he said of the guardsmen, "a bunch of summertime soldiers. They're not professionals. They're scared kids."
... Major Jones of the National Guard approached. Aware of the crowd's volatile mood, Frank told him, "For God's sake, don't come any closer." Jones said, "My orders are to move ahead."
Frank replied, "Over my dead body."
Jones withdrew, but soon a detachment of guardsmen appeared along the hill behind the students. Frank pleaded with the students to leave. "I am begging you right now," he said, "if you don't disperse right now, they're going to move in, and there can only be a slaughter. Jesus Christ, I don't want to be a part of this."
When the guardsmen appeared behind the students, some of the students felt surrounded. Some panicked and ran. Others adamantly refused to leave and had to be physically carried away by faculty marshals and graduate students. The entreaties of Baron and Frank induced others to walk away.
Dr. Glenn Frank speaks to crowd, urges crowd to disperse
The Commons are Cleared and the Guard Investigates
Slightly more than an hour after the shooting, the Commons and the hills around it were clear. Major Simons, chaplain of the 107th, was one of the officers who checked weapons among the guardsmen. He said when he asked the first guardsman how many rounds he fired and in what direction, the guardsman told him he had fired twice "right down the gully." Simons said the guardsman was tired, angry, and disgusted.
Lt. Stevenson said he felt like he was "swallowing dry lumps" as he checked weapons. He said he saw tears in a number of the guardsmen's eyes and described their mood as "having a lump in your throat and, although your lips are wet, you swallow dry." Stevenson said he felt it was psychologically a bad time for a weapons check and decided to make only mental notes of who fired and to write down the information later. Fifteen guardsmen told him that they had fired into the air, but he never established how many rounds each man fired and made no physical check of weapons or ammunition.
An investigation officer was appointed one hour after the shooting. Guardsmen who fired were instructed to fill out an incident report.
Was There a Sniper?
After the shooting, some Guard officers ... said that the guardsmen were responding to a sniper shot. The FBI conducted an extensive investigation for evidence of a sniper, including a search of the Blanket Hill area with a metal detector in an attempt to find nonmilitary bullets. Nothing was found to indicate that anyone other than a-guardsman discharged a firearm during the incident. The Ohio State Highway Patrol investigation found no evidence to support conclusively the presence of sniper fire or shooting from the crowd. General Del Corso testified on behalf of the Guard: "We never identified a sniper as such, as defined in the military."
The activities of two persons at the scene may have given rise to the belief that a sniper was present, Terry Norman, a free-lance photographer, was taking pictures of the demonstration and was seen with a pistol after the Guard fired. Several civilians chased him from Taylor Hall into the Guard line, where he surrendered a .38 caliber revolver. The gun was immediately examined by a campus policeman, who found that it had not been fired.
Student: "Get a gun, shoot back"
Jerome P. Stoklas, a photographer for the campus newspaper, the Daily Kent Stater, was taking pictures of the demonstration from the roof of Taylor Hall with a camera equipped with a telephoto lens. Most of the camera, lens, and tripod were painted black and might have given the impression from a distance that Stoklas had a rifle. Stoklas had no firearm.
Dr. Joseph W. Ewing, an Akron plastic surgeon who has both military and civilian experience treating gunshot wounds, was called to St. Thomas Hospital in Akron at about 3:00 p.m. to examine the wound of Donald S. Mackenzie. Dr. Ewing was surprised to see that the bullet had gone completely through Mackenzie's neck and cheek without doing extensive damage. The bullet had entered approximately one inch left of the spinal column, making a small entrance wound, then had shattered part of the jawbone and exited through the left cheek, leaving a wound the approximate size of a five-cent piece. Dr. Ewing told FBI agents he believed the wound could not have been made by an M-1 rifle or a .45 caliber pistol because either of these would have caused more extensive damage to Mackenzie's neck and face.
A Commission investigator showed photographs of Mackenzie's wound to Lt. Col. Norman Rich, an Army doctor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, and to two physicians on his staff. All three physicians agreed with Dr. Ewing's conclusions.
The Walter Reed physicians also indicated their belief that the bullet which struck Mackenzie was not a ricochet or a deflected round, since it still had enough velocity to pierce his neck and cheek. They stated, however, that the velocity of a 30 caliber M-1 bullet could have been considerably reduced if the ammunition were defective. They concluded that the wound was more likely caused by a smaller caliber weapon, possibly a carbine.
General Canterbury said he did not believe that any of the guardsmen on Blanket Hill were carrying any long-barreled weapons other than M-1 rifles, M-79 grenade launchers, and the single shotgun.
A Commission investigator showed photographs of Mackenzie's wound and hospital records on his case to Dr. Milton Helpern, chief medical examiner of the City of New York. Dr. Helpern was told that MacKenzie had been located 245 to 250 yards from the position of men known to have fired .30 caliber M-1 rifles and .45 caliber pistols. Dr. Helpern said the wound definitely could have been caused by .30 caliber ammunition and that he could not rule out that it had been caused by .45 caliber ammunition.
Helpern said that, in his opinion, the entry wound in Mackenzie's neck and the exit- wound in his cheek indicated that the bullet struck him on a direct line of fire without deflection or ricochet. He said the bullet had traveled a great distance and that it definitely was not a close-range shot.
Dr. Helpern said that in view of the many variables of gunshot wounds, he would like to see photographs of the other casualties in order to verify his opinion. He was shown the photographs of other victims, which he felt confirmed his initial judgment.
Mackenzie himself told a Commission investigator he believes he was shot by the Guard. He said he heard several shots and ran several steps before he was hit, and then Heard shots after he was wounded.
The bullet that wounded Mackenzie was not recovered. No fragments from it were found in his jaw. He was wounded at the same time that the guardsmen fired, and the trajectory of the bullet which wounded him is in the line of fire from Blanket Hill. Since Mackenzie had time to turn and run after the first shot, he plainly was not hit by that initial shot. Listeners who said they distinctly heard a first shot said the Guard's volley immediately followed it. To conclude that Mackenzie was struck by a sniper's bullet would indicate- unless a sniper stood between him and the Guard- that a sniper fired while the Guard fired and from behind and above them, missed them, and struck Mackenzie. There is no convincing evidence that this happened. And no guardsman who fired indicates he fired in the direction of a sniper.
The Guard's Riot Procedures
Generals Del Corso and Canterbury stated that the guardsmen were well-trained in riot procedures and were seasoned veterans of previous civil disorders. Ohio guardsmen receive the same basic training as regular Army recruits and 16 hours of riot training each year they remain in the Guard. Of the 28 men who admit firing, 22 had seen action in previous Ohio disorders. Ohio Guard procedures require that a portion of the riot training manual be read verbatim to each guardsman at the outset of civil disorder duty."