Shots Fired – 4 Dead in Ohio

By | May 4, 2011

At 12:22 on Monday May 4, 1970, 29 members of a group of 77 National Guard troops from A Company and Troop G fired shots towards a group of students at Kent State. 13 seconds and about 67 shots later it ended. Some shots were in the air as warnings, others to induce injury and not kill. The outcome was 4 deaths and another 9 receiving injuries.

The National Guard had been called to the campus after a war protest of May 1st got out of hand. They arrived on campus on the morning of May 2nd. At the time of the shooting they were in the process of clearing a scheduled but a campus declared unauthorized protest.

The students who died as a result of the wounds they suffered that day were:
(Name, distance from Guard, Injury)
Jeffrey Glen Miller, 265 ft, shot through the mouth – killed instantly
Allison Krause, 343 ft, fatal left chest wound
William Knox Schroeder, 382 ft, fatal chest wound
Sandra Lee Scheuer, 390 ft, fatal neck wound

The Wounded:
Joseph Lewis Jr., 71 ft, hit twice in the right abdomen and left lower leg
John R. Cleary, 110 ft, upper left chest wound
Thomas Mark Grace, 225 ft, struck in left ankle
Alan Canfora, 225 ft, hit in his right wrist
Dean Kahler, 300 ft, back wound fracturing the vertebrae – permanently paralyzed from the chest down
Douglas A. Wrentmore, 329 ft, hit in his right knee
James Dennis Russell, 375 ft, hit in his right thigh from a bullet and in the right forehead by birdshot – both wounds minor {died 2007}
Robert F. Stamps, 495 ft, hit in his right buttock {died June 11, 2008}
Donald Scott MacKenzie, 750 ft, neck wound

Even now 41 years later the reason for the shooting has not been fully determined. It may have been that the Guardsmen felt in danger. Some students were approaching them throwing objects and one reports has it that a sniper fired upon the guard.

One of the widely read book about the shootings is James Michener Kent State: What Happened and Why published in 1971. The book does contain a number of errors probably because it was produced so quickly and release so soon after the event. The Kent May 4 Center (www.may4.org) does list this as a non-recommended book. They offer a list of recommended and non-recommended books.

Neil Young after seeing pictures of the shooting wrote the song Ohio. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recorded the song on May 15 and released it as a single in June. The song became to many an anthem for the times giving a tribute that may last forever to the ‘Four dead in Ohio’.


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