From the New York Times - Tuesday, May 5, 1970
4 Kent State Students Killed by Troops
8 Hurt as Shooting Follows Reported Sniping at Rally
By John Kifner - Special to the New York Times
KENT, Ohio, May 4 – Four students at Kent State University, two of them women, were shot to death this afternoon by a volley of National Guard gunfire. At least 8 other students were wounded.
The burst of gunfire came about 20 minutes after the guardsmen broke up a noon rally on the Commons, a grassy campus gathering spot, by lobbing tear gas at a crowd of about 1,000 young people.
In Washington, President Nixon deplored the deaths of the four students in the following statement:
“This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy. It is my hope that this tragic and unfortunate incident will strengthen the determination of all the nation’s campuses, administrators, faculty and students alike to stand firmly for the right which exists in this country of peaceful dissent and just as strongly against the resort to violence as a means of such expression.”
In Columbus, Sylvester Del Corso, Adjutant General of the Ohio National Guard, said in a statement that the guardsmen had been forced to shoot after a sniper opened fire against the troops from a nearby rooftop and the crowd began to move to encircle the guardsmen.
Frederick P. Wenger, the Assistant Adjutant General, said the troops had opened fire after they were shot at by a sniper.
“They were under standing orders to take cover and return any fire,” he said.
This reporter who was with the group of students, did not see any indication of sniper fire, nor was the sound of any gunfire audible before the Guard volley. Students, conceding that rocks had been thrown, heatedly denied that there was any sniper.
Gov. James A. Rhodes called on J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to aid in looking into the campus violence. A Justice Department spokesman said no decision had been made to investigate.
At 2:10 this afternoon, after the shootings, the university president, Robert I. White, ordered the University closed for an indefinite time, and officials were making plans to evacuate the dormitories and bus out of state students to nearby cities.
Robinson Memorial Hospital identified the dead Students as Allison Krause, 19 years old, of Pittsburgh; Sandra Lee Scheuer, 20 of Youngstown Ohio, both coeds; Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 20 of 22 Diamond Drive, Plainview, L. I., and William K. Schroeder, 19, of Lorain, Ohio.
At 10:30 P.M. the hospital said that six students had been treated for gunshot wounds. Three were reported in critical condition and three in fair condition. Two others with superficial wounds were treated and released.
Students here, angered by the expansion of the war into Cambodia, have held demonstrations for the last three nights. On Saturday night, the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps building was burned to the ground and the Guard was called in and martial law was declared.
Today’s rally, called after a night in which the police and guardsmen drove students into the dormitories and made 69 arrests, began as students rang the iron Victory Bell on the commons, normally used to herald football victories.
A National Guard jeep drove onto the Commons and an officer ordered the crowd to disperse. Then several canisters of tear gas were fired, and the students straggled up a hill that borders the area and retreated into buildings.
A platoon of guardsmen, armed – as they have been since they arrived here with loaded M-1 rifles and gas equipment – moved across the green and over the crest of the hill, chasing the main body of protestors.
The youths split into two groups, one heading father downhill towards a dormitory complex, the other eddying around a parking lot and girls’ dormitory just below Taylor Hall, the architecture building.
The guardsmen moved into a grassy area just below the parking lot and fired several canisters of tear gas from their short, stubby launchers.
Three or four youths ran to the smoking canisters and hurled them back. Most fell far short, but one landed near the troops and a cheer went up from the crowd, which was chanting “Pigs off Campus” and cursing the war.
A few youths in front of the crowd ran into the parking lot and hurled stones or small chunks of pavement in the direction of the guardsmen. Then the troops began moving back up the hill in the direction of the college.
The students in the parking lot area, numbering about 500, began to move toward the rear of the troops, cheering. Again a few in front picked up stones from the edge of the parking lot and threw them at the guardsmen. Another group of several hundred students had gathered around the sides of Taylor Hall watching.
As the guardsmen, moving up the hill in single file, reached the crest, they suddenly turned, forming a skirmish line, and opening fire.
The crackle of the rifle volley cut the suddenly still air. It appeared to go on, as a solid volley for perhaps a full minute or a little longer.
Some of the students dived on the ground, crawling on the grass in terror. Others stood shocked or half crouched, apparently believing that the troops were firing into the air. Some of the rifle barrels were pointed upward.
Near the top of the hill at the corner of Taylor Hall, a student crumpled over, spun sideways and fell to the ground, shot in the head.
When the firing stopped, a slim girl, wearing a cowboy shirt and faded jeans, was lying face down on the road at the edge of the parking lot, blood pouring out onto the macadam, about 10 feet from this reporter.
TOO SHOCKED TO REACT
The youths stood stunned many of them clustered in small groups staring at the bodies. A young man cradled one of the bleeding forms in his arms. Several girls began to cry. But many of the students who rushed to the scene seemed almost too shocked to react. Several gathered around an abstract steel sculpture in front of the building and looked at a .30-caliber bullet hole drilled through one of the plates.
The hospital said that six young people were being treated for gunshot wounds, some in the intensive care unit. Three of the students who were killed were dead on arrival at the hospital.
One guardsman was treated and released at the hospital and another was admitted with heat prostration.
In early afternoon, students attempted to gather at various areas of the Commons, but were ordered away by guardsmen and the Ohio Highway Patrol, which moved in as reinforcements.
There were not further clashes, as faculty members, graduate assistants and student leaders urged the crowd to go back to the dormitories.
But a bizarre atmosphere hung over the campus as a Guard helicopter hovered overhead, grim faced officers maneuvered their men to safeguard the normally pastoral campus and students, dazed, fearful and angry, struggled to comprehend what had happened and to find something to do about it.
Students carrying suitcases and duffel bags began leaving the campus this afternoon. Early tonight the entire campus was sealed off and a court injunction was issued ordering all students to leave.
A 5 P.M. curfew was declared in Kent, and road blocks were set up around the town to prevent anyone from entering. A state of emergency was also declared in the nearby towns of Stow and Ravenna.
Statement by General
KENT, Ohio, May 4 (UPI)
Brig. Gen. Robert Canterbury, the commander of Guard troops on the Kent State campus said today that no warning had been given to the students that the troops would shoot.
General Canterbury at a campus news conference, said in reply to questioning that no official order had been given to open fire
“The situation did not allow it, “ he said. “The emotional atmosphere was such that anything could have happened. It was over in two to three seconds.”
He said a guardsman “always has the option to fire if his life is in danger.”
“ A crowd of about 600 students had surrounded a unit of about 100 guardsmen on three sides and were throwing rocks at the troops,” he said. “Some of the rocks were the size of baseballs. The troops had run out of tear gas.”
Governor Rhodes, who had ordered the National Guardsmen onto campus Saturday after students began looting stores and breaking windows in the downtown area, said “A complete investigation,” would be made into the shootings.
Dr. White, the university president, said:
“Everyone is without exception horror struck by the tragedy of the last few hours. Unfortunately, no one is able yet to say with certainty what the facts of the situation are.
“There are many unconfirmed reports of gunfire from various srouces,” he went on. We are asking for every possible appropriate investigation, which we shall undertake to pursue to the limit.
FATHER IS PRINTER
One of the dead victims of Kent State, Jeffrey Glenn Miller was the son of Bernard Miller a linotype operator who works in the composing room of the New York Times.
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