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RIOTING IN CITY TAKES FIVE LIVES

DATE OF EVENT: Wednesday, April 10, 1968

DATE PUBLISHED: Thursday, April 11, 1968, in The Kansas City Times

Editor’s note: As in many cities across the nation, riots broke out in Kansas City after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in April 1968. In Kansas City, Kan., schools were let out for King’s funeral, and there was no trouble. In Kansas City, schools stayed in session, and a protest march by high school students turned deadly. In the ensuing five nights of rioting, five were killed and dozens more injured.

Violence erupted for the second straight night on Kansas City’s East Side last night, turning a large part of the area into a battleground where snipers dueled with police and national guardsmen in the glow of high-reaching flames from fire-bombed buildings

By midnight the death toll had mounted to five, all Negroes who died of gunshot wounds.

While fires and reports of snipers came from scattered parts of the city, nearly all in the Negro district, the most severe trouble was in an area bounded roughly by Twenty-seventh and Thirty-ninth streets, extending about eight blocks in both directions from Prospect avenue.

Four Negroes were reported killed in the Thirtieth street and Prospect area, and the fifth at Thirty-first street and Park avenue.

Two guardsmen were wounded, both apparently by snipers. Two firemen and one Kansas City police officer were also reported to have been wounded by snipers. Five other persons were reported to have suffered gunshot wounds.

The first disturbances were reported shortly after dark, and Mayor Ilus W. Davis reimposed the curfew — from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.— that he had said earlier, on the advice of the police, would not be used last night.

At 10 o’clock Gov. Warren E. Hearnes ordered the 700 members of the 175th military police battalion into Kansas City from Central and Eastern Missouri, in addition to the 2,200 already in the city.

About 20 persons were reported injured. More than 60 arrests were made and firemen reported they battled at least 75 fires between 7 o’clock and midnight, and had to let others burn because they were too busy to fight them.

Firemen were pinned down at least momentarily by snipers at three locations. In two of these, the fires reached major proportions and blazed out of control.

It began shortly after 7 o’clock in the 2900 block of Prospect, where snipers pinned down police and guardsmen.

Two and perhaps three of the deaths were reported here, near the Byron hotel, 2941 Prospect. …

The five dead, listed by officials at General hospital:

George McKinney, 50, of 3023½ Prospect …

Michael McKinney, 12, of 3023½ Prospect, believed to be the son of George McKinney …

Charles Shugg Martin, 43, of 2930 Holly …

Julius Preston Hamilton, 38, of 2744 Spruce …

Albert Daniel Miller, 21, of 3032 Euclid …

Police said about 60 persons had been arrested by 11 o’clock and many more were waiting to be booked.

Gov. Warren E. Hearnes arrived at the Municipal Air Terminal at 11:10 o’clock last night. …

The governor said he was very surprised and sorry about what happened here tonight.

From a vantage point on the roof of St. Joseph hospital at Linwood boulevard and Prospect avenue, observers could see three major fires burning out of control. Also occasionally the sounds of sniper fire could be heard. …

Major battles began to shape up at almost every intersection along Prospect between Twenty-seventh and Thirty-ninth streets. Guard reinforcements with armored personnel carriers were called in. Police sniper suppression squads were stationed on the top of St. Joseph hospital and other buildings in an attempt to stop riflemen that kept firemen pinned down and finally drove them off…

Police said several cars carrying Negro youths were stopped on the Plaza.

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