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Ohio


Kent State shooting victim asks for federal investigation to be reopened
Alan Canfora claims new audio evidence reveals an order to fire, asking US Attorney Steven Dettelbach to reopen investigation
Story by DAN NAWROCKI


 
Alan Canfora with a copy of the letter he delivered to U.S Attorney Steven Dettelbach
Courtesy of Christopher Wallis
Download (WKSU Only)
One of 13 students shot by National Guardsmen on the Kent campus 40 years ago went to U.S. Attorney Steven Dettlebach on Cleveland today to try to get him to reopen an investigation into the shootings. Alan Canfora delivered a letter and CD containing a copy of an audio tape that a student recorded from a window on May 4, 1970. Canfora has long maintained that the guardsmen were ordered to fire, though early investigations discounted that. The Plain Dealer recently asked two New Jersey forensic audio experts to analyze the tape. They say they detect an order to fire, and Canfora says he hopes new technologies can help determine who issued an order.
Alan Canfora on reopening the investigation

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Original tape recorded by KSU student Terry Strubbe

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Longer version

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The words that the most recent analysis revealed are different that what Canfora reported when he found the tape in the Yale archives three years ago.

The U.S. attorney's office says it will review Canfora's complaint with the Justice Department's civil rights division.


Related Links & Resources
Plain Dealer story with enhanced tape analyzed by NJ forensic audio experts

Canfora three years ago on finding tape

Listener Comments:

Please remember people that the students only had their mouths as weapons!!! The guards were doing just fine but did not have to shoot!
I never knew of this till a few yrs ago when my little cousin took me to show me her collage! Thats when I saw the memorial for the 4 students that were killed and I have been researching ever since!!! REOPEN THE CASE!!!!!


Posted by: Amiee (Florida) on July 6, 2010 12:09AM
As someone with an intimate knowledge of this situation and incident I feel compelled to comment. I was on campus the days before the shooting as was in the middle of the fracus on "the hill" that fateful day.

Virtually all of the emotional accounts and finger-pointing originate from ex-students. They all focus on whether or not an order to shoot was given. They all focus on the outcome, not the underlying root cause. I'd like to focus on that.

This unfortunate indicent occured for one reason: students made the fatal decision to continue their confrontation and harassment of both police and an armed military unit under orders to disperse the crowd. The only ones with a choice were the students; they made the wrong one. They decided they wanted that confrontation and set in motion a series of events that resulted in an un-expected outcome.

Notwithstanding the strong anti-vietnam war sentiment, were they so foolish to think their actions would be ignored by the campus police, the state police, and an armed military unit under orders to disperse them? They failed to anticipate the possible dangers of doing so. But, none of them will accept the responsibility for their actions.


Posted by: Bill Reed (New York) on May 26, 2010 11:30AM
Here's a different perspective from someone who was on campus in the days preceding the shootings, and also in the middle of the fracus when it occured. This unfortunate incident could and should have been prevented. Nobody wants to admit that the only people who could and should have prevented it were the students themselves. Here's why.

The National Guard, like any military unit, must follow orders. It could not leave the campus. It could not ignore or counter-mand orders to disperse the crowd. The students on the other hand, could have simply made their point and dispersed to demonstrate another day. Instead, they made the fatal decision to continue to ignore orders to disperse, and to harass and confront an armed military unit. Troop G was not comprised of combat or riot veterans. Most were locals un-accustomed to the stress and tension of dealing with civil confrontations.

My point is, the students wanted that confrontation and failed to recognize the dangers that came with it. Setting aside the arguments of who or what caused the shootings, they wouldn't have happened if the Guard hadn't been forced into a situation where such a disaster had a chance to occur. I often asked myself how I'd feel if my son or daughter were one of the victims. I'd be sad that I didn't do a very good job of teaching them to recognize a dangerous situation and avoid it. I'd be disappointed that they failed to remember their main goal at college was to get an education and that they were foolish enough to think the police and the national guard would allow them to do whatever they pleased. Think about it. The only ones who had choices that day were the students. But people like Alan Canfora don't want to admit that. They're blinded by the outcome and refuse to focus on the cause.


Posted by: Bill Reed (New York, New York) on May 26, 2010 11:16AM
I was a senior. Just before the shootings, there was a guy in front of me who spun around. He had a gas mask on and pulled a revolver from under his sport coat. He pointed it straight at my chest. I put up my hands and said " I'm just standing here man." He took off. I thought I heard someone yell grab him, he's got a gun. At that point , I went back over to the nearest dorm. Came back out to watch. That's when the shooting started. When the guardsmen went back down the hill, I ran up and over and heard people screaming and crying.. I saw Jeff Miller with the hole in his head as I stood near him, then I ran to help some girl I saw shot in the abdomen. Not sure if it was Allison or Sandy. There were so many around trying to help. Then the ambulances came and we moved away to make room. Later , went back to the Willow Arms where I was staying and wondered what would happen next.................


Posted by: Ken (NJ) on May 21, 2010 9:46PM
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