Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on September 3, 1967 · Page 21
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 21

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 3, 1967
Page 21
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1 Continued from preceding page. eon says. "Maybe that saved the rest of us." "They must have thought we were all dead. They stopped shooting.. Everything was quiet. .Then we started screaming for help . . . people asked to help . . . but the Guardsmen told them to get back in their houses, that it was none of ! their business. They said they would shoot them, too." Dunson's statement is corroborated by numerous Lycaste residents. One of them, James Brown, 53, of 3005 Lycaste, says : "I heard a Guardsmen shout: 'Halt.' I heard' them stop. Then I heard the Guardsmen fire." He- says the car had stopped about 40 feet south of the jeep. At this time, a photographer, Dennis Bract,- 27-year-old staffer from Black Star, arrived at the scene. He says that after several minutes, a Guard commander decided it was safe to approach the auto, stepped forward, i and shined a light into the car. The occupants were then told to leave the car, and they crawled out, LeRoy helping Powers. They lay in the street. "One fellow," Brack remembers, "moan-ing-Mother' over and over. Then everybody -stood around and waited for an ambulance." At. this point, two more contentions of police and Guard come into dispute. According to the official report, the Guards', fire was touched off by a shot belived. fired from the car. One Guards-' man .was wounded in the ankle by the round, they say. After, the firing, the report goes on, the injured men "were ordered to lay in the street ... to prevent further injury from the snipers to themselves." Both points are disputed by all persons interviewed by the Free Press. They say there was no sniper fire on Lycaste either before or after the Guardsmen riddled the car. All the witnesses say numerous Lycaste residents wanted to go to the men's aid, ' but were shouted back into their homes by Guardsmen. Disputes aside, it is true that the Guard's fire took a grim toll. Dunson was shot in the face. His sight In both eyes is questionable. Powers suf-- fered -buckshot wounds in the head and a slug in his back. Leroy was mortally wounded. He died July 28 three davs after the incident in Detroit General Hospital. Powers recalls that one Guardsman, asked by one of the wounded men to take him to a hospital, replied: "What do you want me to do? Carry you on my back?" Numerous residents also say they heard the remark. Dunson claims one Guardsman told the wounded: "Shut up or we'll shoot some more." Ambulances finally arrived and the . casualties were carried off. A search of the car revealed no weapons, making it impossible that the wounded Guardsman was shot from the automobile. A Detroit policeman, well-remembered by ' witnesses, ended the incident when he told the Guardsmen apparently in no uncertain terms that he wanted no more shooting. "He was a real nice officer," one witness said. Ernest Roquemore, 19, was shot in the back by an Army paratrooper July 29, one of a crowd fleeing from a Saturday night police raid on an East Side flat, scrambling to escape a hail of shotgun pellets that may have been sparked by the glint of a transistor radio. The paratrooper has been cleared of " any wrongdoing by Wayne County Prosecutor William L. Cahalan, who has ruled that Roquemore's death was a justifiable homicide that occurred when the Negro youth ran into the line of fire between the paratrooper and an unknown man fleeing with a gun. Police never found that man or the gun he was supposed to be carrying. The official police report says two squad cars of police and paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division went to the 65-a-month upstairs flat at 3484 St. Jean on a tip that riot loot was stored there. The flat was rented by Harold Moore, a young Negro. Roquemore, who had a job with a taxicab garage, had moved in with Moore less than two weeks before. , Pplice said that . as they mounted the porch steps they saw through the screen door a young Negro with "a brown paper bag in one hand and a chrome-plated revolver in the other." They stormed in, firing at least three shotgun blasts at the scrambling crowd Inside, a group of about a dozen Negroes, most of them young girls. Hearing the shots, paratroopers who had remained . behind in the police cars ran alongside the house to the backyard, just as people began spilling out the back door. "Watch it!" someone shouted. "That man has a gun coming out the door." The soldiers also observed the man with the chrome revolver, police said, and he turned and fired at them. - One paratrooper loaded his rifle, aimed and fired. As he did so, Roquemore ran In front of him, was struck by the bullet, and fell. He was. pronounced dead of a gunshot wound to the center of the back at 7 :40 p.m. at Detroit General Hospital. Police confiscated one case of assorted whisky, a tape-recorder, a TV set, two sets of Michigan license plates and five rounds of .22 caliber ammunition. They eaid the brown paper bag they recovered contained 29 tin foil packets of suspected marijuana. They have never found the armed man, nor the chrome-plated revolver. But a 16-year-old boy who has never been questioned by police claims he was the youth on the front stairs when the officers arrived and that what he carried was not a revolver, but a transistor radio trimmed in shiny metal and topped with a chrome-plated antenna. The youth, Kenneth Randle of 3418 St. Jean, said he has been questioned by the FBI and showed them the radio. He has never volunteered his story to the police. Randle said he was talking to the landlady of the two-family building when Moore, who rented the upstairs flat, drove up and asked him to go upstairs and get two fifths of rum from Roque-more. "I went up and it took about three minutes to find him (Roquemore), there were so many people in there," Randle said. "But I didn't see anyone even drinking liquor, or smoking marijuana or anything, they were just sitting around and talking. "And I told Roquemore he better get out of there because everybody knew the police were going to raid the place because of loot supposed to be up there." (Almost everyone in the flat had heard rumors of the impending raid. An unknown youth with a grudge against Moore had threatened to tip the police out of spite, because Moore was allegedly taking whisky, perhaps for resale, from the youth's former girlfriend. No one would admit to actual knowledge of loot in the flat, however.) Roquemore took the rum from a case of liquor in the bedroom, but called Randle back as he was leaving to put the rum in a brown paper bag. "I went downstairs," Randle said. "I had the paper bag with the rum in my left hand and my transistor radio in my right hand and I went to open the door and I heard the policeman say, 'He's got a gun!' "I don't know what possessed me. I dropped the bag and ran up the stairs and I turned the corner and I heard the shot right into the wall behind me. It would've hit me if I hadn't run." Randle denies there was marijuana in the bag. With the others, Randle half ran, half fell down the kitchen stairs in the rear of the flat while a shotgun blammed behind them. He said he was still inside the house clutching the transistor radio the possible "chrome-plated revolver" when Roquemore was shot outside. "It isn't true what they say about Roquemore (running into the line of fire) because it was me they were supposed to be shooting at, and he was shot and lying on his back in the alley before I came out of the house," Randle said. "I've had nightmares ever since." Handle's assumption that he is the man mistaken for a gunman is open to question. Certainly, one of the other youths may have been armed; the presence of the ammunition confiscated in the flat suggests that someone there had a gun at some time. Three persons were injured from shotgun fire in the flat: Sharlene Moore, 17, of 2219 Lycaste, wounded in the right side; Diane Coleman, 13, of 2921 Lycaste, wounded in the back, and Ulysses Law-son, 18, of 5240 St. Clair, whose left leg was amputated as a result of the shotgun wounds. It wasn't right, them coming in shooting like that, and it was mostly girls in there, girls 12 and 13," said Randle. "I don't see how it's possible my son stepped into the line of fire and got shot squarely in the back," said Ernest Roquemore, Sr., whose grief is unabated a month after his son's death. "I don't care if that place was full of dope, that's ' nothing to get shot in the back at. That's careless use of firearms." Said a spokeman for the Homicide Bureau: "There was a man with a gun shooting at our men. What would you expect them to do?" The FBI is still investigating the case. E1 John Ashby, a smiling, handsome young man, could have graced a firemen's recruiting poster. He was everything the ideal fireman should be. He loved the department. He had been given the Distinguished Service Award three weeks before his death for helping catch a boy who had been turning in false alarms. He died fighting a blaze set by an arsonist during the riot. Ashby, 24, was badly burned when his metal helmet touched a high voltage line at 3:30 a.m. July 24. -He died Aug. 5 in Detroit General Hospital. Ashby had been ' transferred from Engine 21 at Linwood and Calvert to Ladder Truck 21 to relieve a fireman who was worn out after 24 hours of chasing riot fires. Ladder 21, based at W. Chicago and Livernois, was ordered to the East Side to battle flames at several buildings on Canton and Lafayette. Ashby took the nozzle of a high-pressure hose and climbed an aerial ladder. When his helmet brushed the 4,800-volt electric wire he was badly burned and his breathing stopped. Firemen administered mouth-to-mouth respiration and rushed him to the hospital. For days it looked as if Ashby would make it. The day before he died he was worrying about his job when a Catholic priest visited . him. "Father," Ashby said, "do you think I'll lose my job over this thing?" . The next day Fire Chief Charles Quin-lan and other officers visited him. "If I could move, sir, I'd salute you," Ashby said. "No John, we're here to salute you," Quinlan said. The entire force saluted him, company by company, as a black-draped fire truck bore him to his grave. ,.,.. .v.. ,,,,.,. .,. . . ... ;;..-..,..:v , George Talbert was shot and mortally wounded by a National Guardsman as he walked down a West Side street in broad daylight, unarmed and innocent. The shooting occurred about 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, as Talbert, 20, of 4451 Thirtieth St., walked east on LaSalle Gardens South, a residential street near the devastated Twelfth St. area. One of the witnesses is Julian F. Witherspoon, 47, 1978 La Salle Gardens South, an area chairman for the Mayor's Com- I i mlttee on Human Resources Development. Witherspoon calls himself an "eyewitness to murder." At about 4:30 p.m., Witherspoon says, he heard shouting and shooting and went to his porch to investigate. He says he saw two Guardsmen proceeding up the street, waving back cars that were trying to go east to 12th St. When cars failed to stop, the Guardsmen squeezed off rounds over the cars from their M-l rifles. "You could see the drivers duck," Witherspoon says. "One minute you'd see their heads. The next minute you wouldn't." Witherspoon says the two Guardsmen also yelled at residents on porches to get back in their houses. The Guard's procedure that day is confirmed by a Free Press reporter assigned to that area. He says that several of the streets approaching 12th St. were being closed by the Guard. He says the technique of closing them consisted ot "standing in the middle of the street, shouting obscenities at whoever they were trying to move. If they didn't instantly obey, they'd fire over the cars or over people's heads as they stood on their lawns." At about 5 p.m., Witherspoon says, he saw a man Talbert walking east on LaSalle Gardens South. His companion, Lance Smith, 28, of 3010 Gladstone, walked several paces behind. Talbert had just left his car, a 1965 Chevrolet, on Dunedin. Witherspoon says he was frightened for Talbert but had no chance to wave him back. A moment later, one of the Guardsmen raised his rifle, aimed directly at Talbert and shot. Talbert fell hard on the sidewalk, bleeding profusely. "Help me. I'm dying," he cried. He died 10 days later, on Aug. 5, in Henry Ford Hospital. An autopsy attributed death to pneumonia caused by the wound. Witherspoon's version is corroborated by numerous LaSalle Gardens residents. One of them is Frank Morrow, 34, of 1974 LaSalle Gardens South, a combat veteran of Korea who disobeyed a Guard order to go to Talbert's aid. By the time he got there, Morrow said, five other Guardsmen had arrived. He says he asked a Guard captain to take Talbert to the hospital but the captain said that was "not authorized." Two priests from St. Agnes Catholic Church, Father John Markham and Father Norman Thomas, came up, administered the last rites to Talbert and took him' and Smith to the hospital in Smith's car. Smith had been struck by the same bullet that hit Talbert, but his wound was less serious. Why Talbert was shot is a mystery. He had broken no law and carried no weapon. He was no curfew violator; the time was 5 p.m. He could not be mistaken for a looter; he carried nothing with him and there are no stores in the immediate area where he was shot. According to the Guard, Talbert was shot for refusing to heed a command to halt. The Guardsman who fired the shot told police that his Guard companion had repeatedly ordered these men (Talbert and Smith) off the street. He says that one of the men, either Talbert or Smith, had earlier told him: "I'm going to cut your throat, you sonof-abitch." He says that "this man (Talbert) continued to come forward" so he aimed and fired at him. Even if one accepts the National Guard's story, and none of the witnesses' do, Talbert's death must be called inexcusable. Talbert had a legal right to be where he was and to do what he was doing. Martial law had not been declared; the Guard had no arrest power whatever and its authority to give orders to anyone was sharply limited. The Guardsman himself disobeyed a standing order a court-martial offense when he fired the shot that killed Talbert. Lt. Gen. John Throckmorton, commander of the Federal troops during the riot, had ordered the Guard to unload its weapons and told Guardsmen to fire only on the command of an officer. This order was not followed. Prosecutor William Cahalan has not yet ruled on Talbert's death. The only sure thing in the case of Albert Robinson is that he is dead. What happened just after he suffered his fatal wound and how he suffered it is contested by persons at the scene, an attorney who has studied the incident, and police. According to one witness, Robinson, a 38-year-old factory worker, . was bayoneted and kicked by a National Guardsman as he lay in the alley - behind his apartment. Another witness says the Guardsman tortured Robinson with the bayonet. The police insist Robinson was not bayoneted. The doctor on whose statement the police base their belief admits he Isn't sure. Notarized statements of the witnesses are in the hands of Kenneth Hylton, an attorney. In one statement, Charles Love, 23, manager of the apartment building at Davison and LaSalle, where Robinson lived, says the Guardsman kicked Robinson as he lay moaning. Then, according to Love, a Negro, the Guardsmen said: "Aren't you dead yet?" and bayoneted Robinson twice. The other witness, Charles Maleseve, who is white, of 19185 Andover, says he saw the Guardsman "taking his rifle with a bayonet on it, and sticking it on his (Robinson's) body, . and saying: 'Does that feel good? How does that feel?' " He admits he didn't see the Guardsman actually stab Robinson. But he says that after police had taken Robinson to the hospital, the Guardsman told him: "I stuck him five times, and I tried to rip him, but he wouldn't rip. So I just twisted it." Maleseve says he doesn't believe the Guardsman stabbed him that many times. A couple, probably, . but not five. He believes the Guardsman was bragging. The incident occured late on the night of July 26, the fourth day of the riot. National Guardsmen said they were taken under fire by snipers from Robinson's apartment building on the West Side. The Guardsmen say they returned the fire and that when police arrived, a heavier volume of fire was directed at the building. The occupants were ordered out of the building, and in the melee that followed, the Guardsmen say Robinson was shot twice. ' The initial police report said Robinson was trying to escape. Wounded, Robinson was ordered to lie in the alley behind the apartment house, along with five other residents of the if t ill tr C-Zli-i. t" W'SA? f r ft t vA t ', 5 FIREPOWER: On patrol in riot area, jeep's armament includes two .30-caliber machine guns, a Browning automatic rifle, four carbines and at least two .45-caIiber automatic pistols. building, including Love, the apartment manager, and his wife Angella, and Henry C. Miller, 42, a cab driver. According to Lcve, it was there that the Guardsman bayoneted and kicked Robinson. Robinson was later hauled to Detroit General Hospital, where he died Aug. 5 ten days later. Police say Robinson was a sniper. He had been ordered held for assault with intent to. commit murder, the same charge that was also laid against Miller, but which was later reduced to resisting arrest. Miller was freed on $2,500 bond. Witness and police accounts on who entered the apartment to help ferret occupants out do not agree. Witnesses say Guardsmen went in, along with police. The police report makes no mention of Guardsmen entering. According to police, Robinson was spotted inside, already bleeding. But they also say that Robinson told investigators in the hospital that "he was knocked to the ground and subsequently bayoneted and shot while on the ground." He thought the man who shot him was a Guardsman, officers say. According to Robinson's mother, Mrs. Edna Robinson, Robinson told her later in the hospital: "Albert told me he was in the hall to empty trash when the National Guard burst in the door and ordered everyone out. He said there was a volley of bullets, and he got shot and stabbed." She adds : "He said they kept asking him where's the gun, and when he said he didn't have one, they said: "You're lying, nigger." Hylton, the attorney, believes neither the Guard or police story. Piecing his statements together, he believes that the Guardsman, acting without provocation, shot Robinson while he was still inside the building. , "I'm sure there was no resistance on the part of anyone," he says. Hylton also notes that no weapons were found in the apartment. Neither Love nor Maleseve saw Robinson shot. But according to Maleseve, who observed the incident from outside, all shooting stopped when cries came from the apartment: "We're coming out. We're coming out." Then the "guardsmen went in," he says. "There were two more shots. I didn't count exactly how many there were." He says Robinson was then brought out. Police base their claim that Robinson was not bayoneted on an affidavit signed by Dr. T. J. Grifka, 35, a staff physician at Detroit General Hospital, who assisted with Robinson when he was admitted. In the statement, Grifka said he knew . of no bayonet wounds on Robinson's body. But later, in an interview with the Free Press, he admitted he could not be sure Whether or not the man had been stabbed'. He said the bullet wound that Robinson suffered in his abdomen was of primary importance, and was all he was concerned about. He wouldn't have been looking for other wounds, he says. The doctor says that if he had bayonet wounds, there were obviously of minor importance, but adds that it is unfortunate that the alleged wounds weren't brought to the attention of medical authorities while Robinson remained alive, when a thorough examination could have been made. According to Dr. John Burton, the Wayne County Medical Examiner, an autopsy showed that, besides the gunshot wound, Robinson had five lacerations, four to his stomach, and one to his back. These were identified as operative or drainage incisions, he says. Burton says the autopsy also showed that Robinson was shot -with a low velocity rifle. If the police contention gets confirmation from medical authorities, it gets opposition from Guardsmen who were at the scene. According to the police report, Guardsmen interviewed by detectives said that as Robinson was leaving the apartment building, he "attempted to grab" the sergeant's weapon, and that the sergeant "stabbed him with a bayonet and pushed him away." Miller, the cab driver, was also stabbed in the incident, receiving a wound in the back. According to the Guardsmen, Miller, like Robinson, attempted to- grab the sergeant's bayonet as he was being escorted from the building. When he did, the sergeant "jabbed him with the bayonet and pushed him back," the report says. Miller says he doesn't know exactly how he received the wound. He says he certainly wasn't lunging at the Guardsmen, but adds that he doubts the Guardsman did it on purpose. He must have stopped short when the weapon was at his back, he says. But if Miller isn't sure, Love is. He says that as Miller lay in the alley, complaining of a stomach illness, a-Guardsman said: "Maybe we ought to give him a little bit of that bayonet, and maybe he'd lie down then." "One of the Guardsmen went over and stuck him in the back," Love says. Hylton brands the Guard and police bayonet tales ridiculous. He says - it is absurd to be asked to believe that the two men Robinson and Miller both lunged for the Guard sergeant's weapon separately, at that. He adds : "And if Miller was lunging towards the Guardsman, how come he was bayoneted in the back?" The attorney also says, ' "You've got to be stupid to reach for & weapon that's loaded and has a bayonet on the end. I don't think these men were stupid." A E Three young men went out sightseeing in the early morning darkness of July 26 in violation of the riot curfew. Their trip resulted in the fatal shooting of National Guard Sgt. Larry Post by an unknown fellow Guardsman and the police beating of the three men which sent them to the hospital. It started when the three made a wrong turn and got onto Dexter, which had been in the center of a sniper area all day. The youths, all white, were Ronald Schuster, 23, of 13527 Riverview; John McErlane, 20, of 14088 Riverview, .and Gary P. Mezgec, 21, of 12827 Woodbine. Schuster was driving his 1963 Chevrolet east on Schoolcraft. He turned south on Dexter, and Mezgec said: "Hey, this is where all the shooting is going on. We don't want to stay here." But Schuster had other ideas apparently, for he drove 12 blocks south on Dexter to Richton. As the official police report relates it, the boys drove through a roadblock set up on Dexter and Richton. After shouting at the occupants of the car to halt, National Guard troops in the vicinity opened fire. The car stopped, and the youths were taken out of it. No weapons were found in the car. A short time later, Sgt. Post of the National Guard was found lying on the ground dying. He had been struck with a high power slug in the back. It exited through his abdomen on a level plane, the medical examiner said. There had been a hail of bullets directed at the car. No one was even certain when Post had been hit. Police were led to the conclusion that Post was caught in a crossfire and was accidentally shot by one of the many Guardsmen on the scene. This still case is still being investigated by the seems the only valid conclusion, but the W.ayne County Prosecutor's Office. The youths in the car have a different version of what happened to them at Dexter and Richton. They said there was no roadblock in sight and no commands to halt were given. "There weren't any barricades out; there weren't any Guardsmen on the street," Mezgec said. "Nobody said a word (about halting). We had the windows rolled down and the radio off. The car lights were on. Nobody asked us to stop. All of a sudden there was shooting." Mezgec said Schuster, the driver, stopped the car and they were ordered out by Guardsmen. The trio were turned over to Detroit police, who took them to the 10th Precinct station. Mezgec said they were taken into an interrogation room and . the door was shut. Then he said policemen with blackjacks began beating them. "They took turns on us," Mezgec said. "They hit us with their fists and with blackjacks on the head. They didn't ask us any questions. They just started on us for no reason." Records at Detroit General Hospital show the three were treated at 7 a.m., five hours after they had been taken into custody. None of the boys was injured in the roadblock shooting. There is no other explanation for their injuries. . Mezgec was treated for a broken jaw. He had stitches in the head, the nose and face. The other two received stitches for cuts about the head and face. The three men were charged with assault with intent to commit murder. The charges were subsequently reduced to violation of curfew. On Aug. 10 in Recorder's Court, McErlane and Schuster pleaded guilty. They were each given six months' probation and fined $50 for court costs. On Aug. 25 Mezgec pleaded innocent. Judge Elvin L. Davenport, who handled all three cases, found him guilty and suspended sentence. iw.sjjiuwwiy-w Roy D. Banks was one of the un-luckiest of men. Polio took away his hearing at the age of two. Bad luck ended his life. . Banks, 46, of 3497 Crane, was shot by National Guardsmen at 4:30 a.m., July 25. He died from gunshot wounds on Aug. 14, the 43rd riot victim, the last to die. Police say Banks was one of two men seen looting a bar and that he was shot while fleeing. But the police account of the shooting and the account of neighbors and witnesses do not agree. Banks' neighbors contend he was walking to work when he was mistaken for a looter and was shot down. In a preliminary report dated July 29, four days after Banks' death, the police stated that Banks' body was found lying in an alley east of Rohns and south of Mack. This would have backed up the police contention that Banks was looting a tavern at Rohns and Mack. But a later report, dated Aug. 24, states that Banks' body was found on Crane Street, which is near Banks' home, a block away from Rohns. This report, appeared after a Free Press story showed that Banks was deaf and dumb and that he was shot on Crane Street while walking to work. The July 29 report states that police I F" DETROIT FREE PRESS -Sunday, Sept. 3. '67 ,VB were called to Mack and Rohns about 4 :30 a.m. on July 25 on a report that two men were breaking and entering into' a tavern. The report continues : . . "It appears that several police officers responded to the run, at which time John Doe No. 401 (Banks) was seen running. When an order to halt was given by the officers. Banks continued running, "at which time several shots were fired at him. Banks was found in the alley east of Rohns, south of Mack." At least three witneses said they saw Banks lying wounded on Crane Street, a block west of Rohns. They are Edward Brook, owner of Brooks Auto Service, 8752 Mack; Charles Bowens, 28, of 3543 Crane, and Vernon J. Jenkins, 17, who was visiting his aunt at 3517 Crane. -; Bowens said he was watching from his window when Banks was shot. He said he had heard Banks' footsteps clicking on the sidewalk as he walked from his horn north toward the bus stop on Mack. Bowens said he watched Banks fall near a pickup truck owned by Brook. Brook said he had been guarding his garage through the night. When he heard shots, he said, he opened his garage, door and saw Banks lying on the grass between the sidewalk and Crane Street, His red pickup truck, which was parked at the scene, has several bullet holes in it. Detectives said Banks had been identified as one of two men who were seen in the M & R Lounge, 8836 Mack. One detective told Banks' sister, Mrs. Frances Hume of Washington, D.C., that Banks had been seen drinking in the bar. Another detective told Robert Wade', manager of the M & R Lounge, that a police sergeant had seen Banks in the lounge just before he was shot. , f Wade, however, says that he had personally boarded up the lounge at about 6:30 Monday night some eight hours before Banks was shot. He said when he returned the next morning, after Banks was dead, the lounge was still boarded up and intact. "This place was broken into Monday afternoon," Wade said. "About 6:30 we came down and nailed the door shut. Then we put screws in all the windows. The police are trying to tell me there was somebody in here. It was impossible for people to get in and out unless Banks broke in and then boarded the door back up before he ran down the alley." Wade said he had told this to a detective. No statement by Wade, however, apt pears in the police report. There is a statement from the bar's owner, Joseph Pampalone, that his bar was looted at 5 p.m. Monday and that Pampalone did not return to it until Wednesday. . Mrs. Margaret Brooks, 73, who lives in a second floor apartment at 8844 Mack, was the person who called police that morning and informed them that looters were in the alley. Mrs. Brooks' apartment is on the second floor, over the; Gem Party Store, next to the bar. ,:.-. Mrs. Brooks said she was staying with a friend at 3540 Rohns and saw two men in the alley at the rear of the party store and the lounge. One of the men was acting as a lookout, she said. The men ran west in the alley when N a t-i o n a 1 Guardsmen approached after she had called the police she said. ; Mrs. Brooks, asked by a reporter-if she knew Roy Banks, said: "No, I did not know Roy Banks." Asked if she could have identified his face by sight, she said, "certainly not."- Banks worked as a laborer at Rax, Inc., 12871 Westwood, a fabricating plant'. He was talking in his home until ' 1 a.m. Monday with his wife, Essie, who is also a deaf mute, and Mrs. Kitty Williams, his landlady. A neighbor, Mrs. Lois Moore, of 3712 Crane, was also present Essie Banks, who communicates only by sign language, told police through Mrs. Williams that she told her husband not to go to work because of the riot. When she awoke at 4:30 a.m. Banks was gone, she said. - - However, Mrs. Williams said Banks customarily left for work by 4:30 or before. He had to catch three buses and then walk half a mile to get to work, she said. Banks' employer, Charles Briggs, shop superintendent at the Rax plant, verified this. Briggs said he always arrived at the plant shortly after 6 a.m. and that Banks was always there before him. - 1 - During the riot, Briggs opened his plant every day, he said, in the hope that enough men would show up so it could operate. He followed the same procedure the morning Banks was shot. "Roy would not have known it if the plant was going to be closed. Briggs said. "He expected to come to work." . .. The police report mentions several limes that orders to halt were given before shots were fired. But it never mentions that Banks was deaf and dumb."" "He was stone deaf," Briggs said." "I wrote notes to communicate what I wanted him to do." Homicide detectives questioned at least 16 persons in connection with Banks death. No one said he saw the actual shooting and no one identified Banks as one of the two men reported in the alley. Two members of the 'Michigan National Guard, Capt. Donald Efremoff and Lt. James Lindow, gave nearly identical statements. ' " They said they saw a man run out of the back of a bar. They heard someone shout halt and then they heard shooting. Neither said they saw the shooting. The Guardsmen may have seen someone in the Gem Party Store instead of the bar. The party store was broken into Sunday and had been . entirely cleaned out by Monday night. A Detroit policeman. Patrolman Franls Gianotto, said he went to the rear of the Gem Party Store and heard someone yell: "There he goes." "- Gianotto took cover behind a pil ir" rubble and immediately heard a lot of shooting. Later he said ha saw Banks lying on the ground on Crane Street. ,. . Vernon Jenkins told police that about a half hour before the shooting he had seen a tall man in a white shirt running west in the alley, across Crane and out of sight. The medical examiner's report states that Banks suffered bullet wounds in the right groin and left knee. This would be consistent with claims of his neighbors that Banks was walking north on Crane to go to work when, he was shot. The theory that he was shot while running west in the alley suggests that he would have had to be shot from the rear, which he was not. The evidence suggests that two men were loitering around the alley that morning, possibly trying to get into the M & R Lounge but neither of them was Roy Banks. His death appears to have been unnecessary.

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