1967 Detroit Riot Victims
43 people died in the 5 days of the July 1967 Detroit Riots. Below are not only their names, but some information on each of the people. I will try not to make this page bias, obviously there were many terrible sacrifices and mistakes made during this time. This page is written for those victims, killed and does not discuss the reasons behind why these riots took place.
On the last day of the riot, a total of 4,700 Federal paratroopers were removed from the City of Detroit, 4,035 people had been arrested, over 1,000 were injuried, and 43 lives were lost. Here is their story:
Krikor Messerlian Victim One
Armenian born, Krikor Messerlian had heard of auto plant jobs in America, from native villagers sending back word to his country from America. On July 10, 1920, the British High Commissioner in Constantinople, signed documents that would allow then, twenty-year-old Messerlian to travel to America.
Messerlian, was known by fellow factory employees as, George. He was a small man, standing about 5 feet tall and weighing around 100 pounds. He disliked the factory work so much, that he quit working there to become a shoe repair man. He lived a quiet bachelor life, and spent long hours reading Armenian and Greek books at the library.
His first repair shop was located on Brush Street, in Detroit, and Messerlian, had originally had no problems with his patrons. During the 1940's as the area became more run down and violent, Messerlian was involved in a confrontation with an armed African-American youth, who came into his shop, demanding money.
Messerlian tried to get to his .45 he kept behind the counter, but the gunman interferred. He struck Messerlian in the head with his gunbutt, and left him lying on the floor of the shop.
It was at this time, his relatives persuaded him to leave Brush Street, and he took up shop on Linwood Avenue, only a few blocks from Twelfth Street. At the time, this was a middle-class neighborhood, and many times, Messerlian would leave his store, with his front door open.
But as the area around Linwood began to change, he was one of the few merchants who intended to stay in the area. He had faced violence before, and stated to his nephew, that he wasn't afraid of anyone.
On Saturday, July 22, 1967, Messerlain remembered that his niece was to be married the very next day. He had only $20 left of his Social Security check and went to the dry cleaning shop next door to borrow an additional $25.
By the next morning, trouble was already brewing in the area, on Twelfth Street. The lady who had overseen the dry cleaners next door to Messerlain, called to check on the store. He reported that everything was fine. She called again at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. Things were still quiet. Half of an hour later, a gang of African-American youths came down Linwood and stopped at the dry cleaners.
Messerlian, who hadn't learned to back down from a hostile situation, appeared with his 20-inch saber in hand. He was told to get out of the way, but refused. The youths, broke windows, and began looting the shop.
Messerlian began to swing his saber, and caught a boy across the shoulder. The stunned youth, walked away from the shop, bleeding perfusely.
From across the street, people living in their homes, were watching the distrubance from their porches.
Then, suddenly, the shoeman was lying on the sidewalk, and standing above him was a young man, clubbing him with what they thought was a table leg. They yelled for the boy to stop before he killed the old shoeman.
Some of the boy's friends tore the club from his hands, and the group ran down the street. Messerlian laid motionless on the sidewalk.
At the hospital, it was reported that he suffered from fractures of the right leg, jaw, left arm, and skull. He had numerous abrasions and damage to his abdomen and neck. He died 5 days later, on July 27, 1967.
(On August 14th police arrested a twenty-year-old man who had come to Detroit from Alabama, only six weeks before.)
Throughout the afternoon of July 23rd, the Governor, George Romney and Mayor Cavanagh watched in fear as the disturbabces continued.
At 4:20 p.m., the National Guard was called to Detroit. In less than one hour news came, that the police were unable to contain the looting and burning on Twelfth Street, the looting taking place on Grand River, or crowds and looting that had been reported as "out of control" at Joy Road and Grand River.
Homeowners were forced to take up their own hunting rifles and guns to stand guard as gangs of youths attempted to break into their homes.
They banded together to protect the firefighters, trying to control the situation, however fires spread from stores to homes, and rows of well-maintained homes on Pingree Street were destroyed.
The National Guardsmen began arriving about 7:00 p.m. and by 12:00 midnight, 4,000 of them covered the streets.
Looting had spread along every West Side main street. Stores were torched, as police rushed from one looting scene to another.
Victims 2 & 3
Willie Hunter, and Prince Williams were bestfriends. Neighbors would say when you saw Willie, you would soon see Prince.
Even though they had not grown up together, not even in the same state, and were six years apart in age, they were bestfriends just the same.
Willie was born in Georgia in 1941 and was 26 years old. His family had stayed a short while in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he graduated from Taft High School. He was a member of the track team, and played basketball, even though he was quite short in stature. Willie met Prince in Cincinnati, and he also met a girl, Louise.
Louise and Willie began dating, and Willie was heart broken, when Louise left for Detroit to live with her grandmother. Soon after, Prince announced that he too was leaving for Detroit. It was than, that Willie knew this would be the route he was determined to take as well.
Louise and Willie married on November 29, 1965 and settled in her grandmother's home at 3454 Van Dyke, in Detroit. He found a job with Ford Motor Company and worked as a utility man for two years. Soon they had their first child, Heidi, and then, their second, Tracy was born. With their family growing, they planned on moving into a house they had found on Garland Street, that summer of 1967.
Prince had married before he left Cincinnati, to a lady named Mary, however when he left for Detroit she did not accompany him, and they were later divorced.
Prince had been born in Alabama in 1935 and was 6 years older then his friend, Willie. He also worked for Ford Motor Company, on the assembly line and was a Marine veteran. He helped in planning his friends' move to Garland Street. He also helped as they planned for thier future togehter. This changed Williams' attitude. He began to think of getting married again, and even mentioned a girl he had in mind.
Louise decided to take her children to Chicago in early July, to visit with her mother. She talked to Willie on Thursday, July 20th, and had told him she would be home soon, and that she had missed him.
A week and 3 days later, a friend, Mrs Cunningham, called Louise from Detroit, to tell her that she hadn't heard from Willie, in quite a long while. She also told her, that she had heard that Willie had been killed. Louise answered that she would be right home.
On Sunday, July 23rd, neighbors reported that they had seen, Willie and Prince at Prince's house at 1734 Seward. Later they were seen walking near Brown's Drug Store at 8202 Twelfth Street, where there had been looting and disorder. It was the first day of the riot, and the police were not organized as well as they would have liked to be.
Brown's Drug Store had been set on fire, and Willie and Prince disappeared. Three days later, their bodies were found in the ash and rubble of the store. The offical report: "death by carbon monoxide asphyxiation." Police reported there was no sign of violence on either body.
Sheren George Victim 4
Sheren George had been struggling through her life for quite some time. She had been plagued by the unsolved murder of her first husband, the loneliness, and the stress of raising two children, Donna and Ronald by herself.
She soon met a man named, Ross, a large man with a goatee and mustache. He was rough and intimidating, but he was also touched by Sheren, and the love she brought to her children. He found himself in love with her and a need to settle down.
Ross had been born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, but had done alot of traveling, working odd jobs in Florida and over the Midwest, before ending up as a grinder in a Detroit factory.
Sheren was 23, a year younger than Ross when they met. Her family never had much money, and she dropped out of highschool to work. She had married an auto salesman, Ronald Ardelean, while she was still a teenager. They had 2 children, however their life came to abrupt end, when Ardelean was found shot to death.
Soon after, Sheren found a job as a dancer in the Hollywood Ballroom. Her pay was one dollar an hour, plus tips. She didn't mind the work, and even found her mother, Theresa a job at the ballroom later.
One evening, Ross went out with Sheren's brothers, known in the neighborhood as the Dimitrie boys. He was soon seeing more of Sheren, than her brothers. He got along well with Sheren's children, and invited her to meet his parents back in Pennsylvania. They married shortly thereafter.
On Sunday, July 23, Ross, Sheren, and two of her brothers were talking with some friends who lived closer to the downtown area. They asked for a ride home. Ross had refused, stating there was too much rioting going on down there. One of the boys stated there wasn't much of anything going on, except some stores being looted.
Ross finally agreed to take them home. He was behind the wheel driving, with Sheren and her brother, Paul Dimitrie in the front seat, and Dennis Dimitrie, and the other two boys in the back seat. They saw the fires and the looting, however they dropped off the boys without any trouble. On the return trip home, about 11:30 p.m. , on the middle of Woodward Avenue, they saw a crowd of African-Americans, blocking the street, and apparently beating a white man, who was backed up against a car.
Sheren, who was pregnant, and due in December, pleaded with her husband to get away from the crowd.
Ross began to maneuver through the crowd when a shot was fired. He felt a stinging pain and stated, "I'm hit."
"I'm hit," gasped Sheren.
The bullet from a pistol, struck the left rear door, and splintered. It sent fragments flying into the front seat.
Ross frantically drove off of Woodward Avenue and screeched down a street and finally came to a fire station.
They transferred Sheren from the car into an ambulance, and she was rushed to Detroit General Hospital, where she died at 1:35 a.m.
As the first day of the riot ended, several hundred people had been injuried, more than 1,300 had been arrested. The fire department had received 209 alarms. Nearly one mile of Twelfth Street was in flames, dotting a twenty-block stretch from Grand River. Police estimated that 5,000 people on the West Side and 3,000 on the East Side were involved in the looting and destruction. Nervous National Guardsmen, were appalled and angered, and one was reported as stating, "I'm gonna shoot anything that moves and is black."
Monday, July 24, 1967
Walter Grzanka Victim 5
As Walter Grzanka sat on his back porch, he and his wife, Edna could see the glow of fired across the sky above Grand River. Walter was a 45 year old man who had worked as a military policeman in the service, and as a private guard. He was born on a farm in Memphis, Michigan, the son of immigrant parents, from Poland.
Walter, had had run-ins with the police himself dating back to the 1940's, and had a drinking problem. He had met Edna when he moved into an apartment at 641 Charlotte. Edna Locascio, was the wife of the manager. Her husband suddenly took ill and while on the verge of death, asked Walter to take care of Edna and the place for him. For a time, he assumed many jobs around the building. He later married Edna, but continued to have trouble with the police.
On Sunday, July 23rd, Edna and Walter had stayed near the television set almost all day, listening to the news of the riots. After darkness fell, some people, including some residents of 641 Charlotte, broke into a store down the street and began to cart off groceries and liquor.
Walter telephoned his sister, who operated a store on Michigan Avenue to make sure things were safe with her. He was just hanging up the phone, when his wife came in and told him about all of the things that people were taking from the stores.
They went out onto their front porch and watched some of the white looters walking downing the street with the things they had taken from the store. Another store, on the same block, was being protected by area residents who liked the owner.
Walter and some of the men from his building decided to walk down the street and see what was happening.
A little while later, Edna was checking the doors and windows on the first floor of her home, to be sure they were all locked. She noticed that she could not find Walter anywhere.
Walter and his friends were talking with some of the people on the street and walking through the neighborhood. Just before midnight they heard a loud crash of a plate glass window breaking. Some African-American males were breaking into the Temple Market. Walter, who was caucasian, and his friends, also caucasian, walked to the opposite corner and watched the looting taking place.
Witnesses stated that Walter walked across the street and looked into the store. A young black man filled a container with some goods from the store and handed them to Walter, who carried them back to his friend and returned to the market. He recieved more goods and took them back to his friends. His friends, tried to tell him to call it quits now, but seeing no police around, and the crowd was a friendly one, he made a third trip.
About this same time, proprietor, Hamid Audish Yacoub, age 30 pulled up to his store in his 1965 Mustang. He was carrying a .22 revolver. Yacoub was in the process of buying the store and watched in horror as the looters took everything from his establishment. When he saw Walter leaving the store, he raised his pistol and shot. Walter fell to the ground, with a bullet in his chest. Yacoub fired two more times, scattering the looters and the friends standing over Walter, and he drove away.
In his pocket, Walter had 7 cigars, 4 packs of tobacco, and nine pair of shoelaces. He was pronounced dead at Detroit General Hospital 25 minutes later.
Julius Dorsey Victim 6
Julius Dorsey had grown up in Memphis, Tennessee. He was a good athlete; and people who had known him, would say that if he hadn't been so frivolous, he might have gone on to became a semi-professional athlete in any number of different sports.
Dorsey came to Detroit, for work as did many other people, and got a job on the police force. When he heard about the riots on the radio, he set out about his neighborhood to take a look around. He also took his .25 gun. As he walked up upon a store crowded with looters and noticed no police in sight, he decided that he should be responsible for protecting the store.
Upset, he fired three shots into the air , but this only angered the crowd of looters. At this time, he decided it would be better for him to return home, feeling that he might be in danger, on the street alone, still wearing his police uniform.
When he arrived home, his neighbor, Mrs. Smith told him that she overheard that a man had planned on robbing him and taking his gun away from him.
Angry, Dorsey started down the street, to locate the men who would steal from him. Something made him change his mind, and he turned back, calling to his friend, to call the police for help, and he returned to her home. He made two or three more trips to the corner store, to check on it, and during his last trip, he noticed National Guardsmen had finally arrived at his home. Dorsey slowly walked toward the corner, and suddenly there was a loud crash of breaking glass. Someone was trying to break into one of the stores. Then followed a louder bang, of gunfire.
Mrs. Smith's instinct was to hit the ground, and she did. A few minutes later, she heard another neighbor calling to her, "Miss Viola, Miss Viola, he done got shot ! He done got shot !"
Mrs. Smith ran through the front door and was stopped by a National Guardsman. A young boy in the neighborhood had already run by toward where Julius Dorsey was lying. The Guardsman, lifted his rifle and cocked it, and the boy retreated.
Dorsey died there in the street, his badge shining, his uniform splattered with blood. He was apparently killed by a guardsman, but the official records list his death as a gunshot wound, by an unknown assailant.
Clifton Pryor Victim 7
A Southern born man, named Clifton Pryor from the Appalachians of Tennessee, first took a job in Chicago, at a bakery, before settling in Detroit, where he worked for a roofing company. He was a father who enjoyed spending his evenings playing with his children, or visiting with his boss's family, with his wife and family. They lived in a four-room apartment at 667 W. Alexandrine, as did his wife's brother with his family.
On Sunday, Clifton was fearful of all the chaos building throughout the city. Most of the families in his apartment building, stayed indoors and listened to developments on their televisions. The men in the building, would occasionally walk the halls to check on fellow neighbors. By evening, the crowds had come closer to their location.
Several merchants on a nearby street had been firing gunshots over the heads of looters in their shops. On other streets fires blazed and the air was filled with the sounds of sirens. The men held a small meeting and discussed going on their roof with blankets and water buckets, to protect their building from sparks flying through the sky. They took a vote and a majority agreed to go up.
Just after midnight, Pryor, and six other men, climbed up the back fire escape to their roof, and had a spectacular view of the fires, and crowds below. For security, one of the gentleman, had brought along his shotgun.
An elderly neighbor, Mr Dempsey, had been watching his television, and heard the reports of guardsmen assigned to the streets. They warned for citizens to stay inside their homes, and keep out of sight. Dempsey decided to go to the roof to tell the men to come down.
At about this same time, the police had received word that there was a sniper on the roof at 667 W Alexandrine, and the National Guardsmen, rushed to the apartment building. There had been no gun fire from the building.
Pryor and another gentleman had just started down the fire escape when the police reached the roof of an adjoining building, and ordered the men back to their apartments.
Seven total started down the stairs, Dempsey was first, and behind him, was Pryor. The man with the shotgun was toward the end of the line.
Between the second and third floor landings, Pryor stepped in front of Dempsey, a shot rang out, and Pryor fell forward to the landing below. The men hurried inside the third floor and down to the second and pulled Pryor into the building.
Authorities immediately announced that Pryor was a sniper, armed with a shotgun. However, that announcement, didn't sit well with Allard Pryor, father of Clifton, who was living in Cookeville, Tennessee. He knew his son would not have fired at anyone and decided to come to Detroit to prove it.
He gathered witnesses who all agreed that Clifton did not carry the shotgun. There was nothing in Pryor's record to reflect that he was in any type of trouble, or that he would have ignored any command from a police official.
Allard Pryor's only comment, was "This could have all been prevented. I owe it to him to clear this up."
John Ashby Victim 8
John Ashby, was a twenty-four-year-old firefighter. He was already a good firefighter, with skill and good conduct. Even when he wasn't on duty, he would help people in trouble, or appear at local fires. He had rescued two boys from drowning on a lake in Northern Michigan, while on vacation. While in Chicago, he helped put out a fire he saw on an expressway with an extinguisher he borrowed from a passing by trucker.
Ashby was called to one of the fires, early Monday morning, about 3:00 a.m. He was the first firefighter to enter the building, and heard the cry of a man's voice.
A young man had been trapped in the building when it was set on fire. It was never determined whether or not the man was a looter, who started the fire, or if he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ashby helped the coughing, but unharmed young man out of the building, and returned to extinguish the fire. Suddenly a portion of the roof caved in, and landed directly on Ashby. He was pronounced dead at the scene, July 24, 1967.
Herman Ector Victim 9
Herman Ector was a young boy, most mothers would love to use as a model for their sons. He had no bad habits. He didn't swear, smoke, or stay out passed his curfew. In high school, he was known as "The Brain." He participated in baseball, basketball, and track, and excelled in all of them.
Early Monday morning, Herman had gone down his street to see how much damage had really taken place. He saw a small gang of boys throwing bricks through the window of a small neighborhood market. He walked up to the boys, apparently to see if he could talk them into just leaving, or to stop them from destroying anymore of the market.
Suddenly, a man, named Solomon appeared and shot. Ector died before he reached the hospital.
Solomon was later arrested and charged with first degree murder. He had not been the owner of the store, nor did he have any connection to the store whatsoever. He apparently had no right to be there at all. He was acting on his own, having been hired with a guard service, he felt he was to protect and serve, just as any police officer would. However, Solomon was not a police officer, and he was not hired to protect or serve the market. The charges were later dropped against Solomon.
Herman Ector died for no apparent reason and his family felt no justice was served.
Governor Romney and Mayor Cavanagh were desperate. They had requested Federal troops to suppress the violence in their city, but the proposal was denied. At 9:45 a.m., Romney called again for help. It was presented to then President, Johnson at 10:56 a.m. And approved by 11:02 a.m. Federal troops were on their way to Michigan. It was the second time in less than 25 years, that American soldiers were called to Detroit, to engage in combat against American citizens.
Fred Williams Victim 10
Fred Williams and his wife, Louise settled in Detroit at 9541 Goodwin. They had come to the City in 1945 from Marianna, Arkansas. Williams was a fourty-nine year old construction worker, who had moved here in hopes of bettering his life.
He died Monday July 24th, after his home was burned to the ground. His wife, Louise moved from their home, with a few of their possessions, just down the street.
More on Williams to be posted when transcription available
Daniel Jennings Victim 11
Daniel Jennings, was a father of 14 children. He moved his family from a very run-down neighborhood in Detroit to an apartment on Mount Vernon. Jennings had grown up in Detroit, and had dropped out of Pershing High School in the 11th grade.
He first obtained a job assisting builders of a construction company, and worked his way up to burner, similar to a welder. He joined the union and later moved up to wrecker.
Jennings and a few of his friends did intend on looting a nearby store. The owner was named, Meszczenski, and he had assumed that his store would be a target, as he was a white man, and his store was situated in practically an all African-American community.
The night of Monday, July 24, Meszczenski sat inside his store with a rifle, expecting trouble. Jennings and some friends headed out toward the locked store. They broke the glass in front door and 3 of them looked inside for a few minutes, than continued into the store.
A shot rang out, and the men ran. Only one shot was fired from Meszczenski's rifle, but it hit Jennings in the chest. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Detroit General Hospital.
The shooting was ruled, justifiable homicide.
More on Jennings when transcript available
Robert Beal Victim 12
In 1952, Robert Beal and his wife, Earline left Magnolia, Arkansas and headed North to Detroit. They settled in the home of some friends and Robert set out immediately for work. Robert had dropped out of school in the sixth grade and realized that finding a job would be a difficult task.
He did find a job, with Chrysler Corporation, at the plant in Pontiac, and started work as a truck driver in the motor division. He and Earline began making plans for their future, and finding a home of their own.
Beal also started making friends all over the City of Detroit. He was well-liked and very friendly.
A few years had gone by, when they moved from their friends' home to one they had found at 8857 Tredway. A six-room bungalow, in a quiet neighborhood.
Robert soon found himself surrounded by new friends who were very happy to hear of his ability to fix cars, and he soon became the blocks mechanic. It was very common to see him in his backyard, bending over into the engine works of a car.
On Monday July 24, Robert was in his house, while almost all of his neighbors were out in the streets, trying to figure out what was going on, on their neighborhood block. At one point, Beal decided that he too, would make sure his friends and neighbors were doing okay.
He walked down his street towards an auto-parts store, that had been looted, and happened upon a group of policemen and National Guardsmen. The police saw Beal in front of the looted store, and demanded that he stop. A report stated that Beal ran when the policeman called to him, and he was shot by a policeman with a shotgun. He died on the street, before any rescue team arrived.
Earline Beal stated that she read two different stories about her husband's death. One claiming that Robert had been outside the shop, and one stating that he was inside the shop. She didn't know which story was correct, but she did know, that Robert Beal was not a looter.
Earline left Detroit and moved back to Arkansas, where she had met her husband, unable to deal with the memories of the murder.
Joseph Chandler Victim 13
Joseph H. Chandler was the son of Joseph F. and Nellie Chandler of Louisville, Kentucky.
He was a graduate of Central High School in Louisville. While in Junior High School, he began studying car maintainance. He also delivered a weekly newspaper, The Louisville Defenders. Chandler believed once he had finished his studies, he would obtain his dream job of working as a mechanic. In Louisville, he was unable to find any work. Doors were slammed in his face, and he became convinced that he was turned down because of his race. He did secure a few jobs, however none of them were as a mechanic, and if he wasn't fixing cars, he wasn't happy. He became more and more unhappy, until he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He served his time, and had an honorable discharge. When he returned home from Korea, he was sure that now, he would get the job that he was born to have. He believed that he had earned the right to become anything that he wanted to be.
Joe met Dorothy after he returned home, and they married. They soon had their first child, and then another, and soon there would be seven children, bore to Joseph and Dorothy Chandler. Although his family made him happy, he was no closer to getting a mechanic job, then he had been when he left for Korea.
One day, one of his friends, asked him, if he wanted to be a mechanic so badly, why didn't he move to Detroit, where they made cars !
Joe talked this over with his wife, and they decided that as soon as he was settled, he would send for the rest of them.
He arrived in Detroit and settled down after he found a job in an auto plant. He was delighted. His friends remarked that they had never seen him so happy, and for once in his life, Joe did feel extremely happy.
But this happiness wasn't to last. Labor problems soon arose in the plant. There was a strike, and Joe was left, without a job.
Joe made a phone call home to his mother, on July 4th. He said he was going to come and visit with her. But was still discussing bringing his wife and children to Detroit as soon as possible.
The next phone call his mother recieved from Detroit was from one of Joe's friends, stating that he had been killed.
He was shot on Monday, the second day of the riot. The police reported that he was looting a store at 8360 Second Avenue, only a short distance from where he had been living on West Philadelphia. They claimed he was seen looting a store and ran when the police called to him. They shot at him, but that he had jumped a fence and they didn't pursue him. He was found dead, hours later, lying under a car.
Herman Canty Victim 14
Herman Canty was a forty-six-year-old car washer. He was a happy, friendly man, who was greatful for his job, and expected to retire, as a car washer.
Canty, was born in Waycross, Georgia, and hadn't finished High School. He, at one time, thought he would become a cotton-picker, for the rest of his life. He commented to his friends that he had come a long way in his life, from Waycross. He didn't like the way an African-American was treated in the South, and what they had to do, just to get by. After twenty-five years in Waycross, Herman headed North, for Detroit.
He left behind a wife and a son in Waycross, and had spent some time in jail after his separation because he didn't pay his child support, while he was in Georgia. Herman was happy to be leaving, but he didn't find the promised land, like he had intended on doing.
He worked a few odd jobs at first, and then in 1964, he found his car-washing job, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and decided that this was to be his life. He had been working about two years, when he met a girl from the same apartment building that he had been living in at Alexandria and Lincoln Streets. She was a native of Detroit, but she was also, already married.
Later, Mrs Canty would state that her first marriage wasn't going well, and that she and Herman, seemed to hit it off right away. She divorced her first husband, and married Herman.
They moved from the apartment on Alexandria to 1166 Clairmont, another apartment, but had many plans. They had two children, and after a time, Herman received a raise. They had decided that they would find a small house and raise their family, and started saving.
Herman was then made foreman, and oversaw all the rest of the workers, and was also put in charge of the pickup truck that would drive the workers to Ann Arbor.
Monday, July 24, started like any other Monday. Herman woke at his usual time, 6:30 a.m., and drove off in the truck to pick up his fellow workers. At about 9:30 a.m., Herman returned home, stating that none of his workers showed up. Mrs Canty fixed him breakfast, and set out for the market to do some grocery shopping, however she returned because the store was closed because of the riot.
A neighbor boy came down from an upstairs apartment and told them that someone had broken into a store and people were taking things. Herman told his wife his was going to see someone, and left in his truck.
Witnesses stated that Herman had backed his truck up at the Bi-Lo Supermarket located at 2450 West Grand Blvd, and was taking out large boxes and placing them in his truck. When the police arrived at the store, he jumped into the truck and quickly drove away, but not before throwing a fire bomb into the store, according to the police report.
Herman was found in the driver's seat of his truck, dead, from a gun shot wound to the back of his neck. The people Canty supposedly had been looting with, were never found, and Mrs. Canty never believed that Herman would have ever done a "silly thing like that."
Alfred Peachlum Victim 15
Afred Peachlum came to Detroit in 1955 from Arkansas. He had a good job, a nice family, a clean house, and a zest for baseball. On Sunday, the first day of the riot, Peachlum was at Tiger Stadium rooting the Tigers on, for the race for the American League pennant. His wife, Jimmie, was also a baseball fan, and they had worked very hard to buy box seat tickets behind third base.
The Peachlums had 3 children, ages 11, 7, and 10 months.
Alfred was shot by a twelve-gauge shotgun, by a policeman, who had noticed a shiny object in his hand, that he thought was a weapon. Peachlum was struck in the chest, and he died in the alley behind a supermarket. The shiny object was later found to be a piece of beef, wrapped in a foil container.
Two women sitting on a porch behind the supermarket were also shot during the gun fire, one was hospitalized for a month.
More details on Peachlum to be posted
In Detroit's Recorder's Court, hundreds of prisoners were assembled in line to be judged. One of the judges heard six hundred cases in twelve hours. To keep accused looters off the streets, the judges set large bonds for suspected looters.
From transcript one judge was quoted as stating, "Your're nothing but a lousy, thieving looter." "It's too bad they didn't shoot you."
Alphonso Smith Victim 16
Alphonso Smith lived on the West Side of Detroit. He had grown up on the East side of Detroit and graduated from Eastern High School.
"Smitty", as he was known by friends, used to look around abandoned buildings and pick up odd items that interested him. He didn't want many of his friends to know this, as he felt it would make him appear as a bum.
At twenty-five he began working as a waiter at Little Harry's Restaurant in Detroit. He was a short man, with graying hair, who had self-confindence and was very poliet.
Ten years later, in 1967, he had moved into a nice upper-middle-class neighborhood, into the Margaret Lee Apartments. His apartment was located on the third floor and Smith furnished his place with modern and antique furniture.
Smith spent most of his time with his nephew, Alfred Clayton, who lived with him.
Smith was reported as being with four men on Monday, July 24, looting the Standard Food Market that was located at 9750 Dexter. The police stated that Smith threw something at one of the officers, who turned and shot the ceiling of the store, with his submachinegun. Another officer, Thomas F. Peterson apparently slipped on falling debris and accidently discharged his gun, and shot Smith in the neck.
Witnesses from the street stated, however, the the second officer, wasn't even inside of the store during the shooting. He had been outside and fired through a window.
After an investigation, the death was ruled accidental, and without criminal charges.
Smith's friends and family stated that it wasn't in Alphonso's personality to be looting any store. They believe if he was inside the building, he would probably have been looking through rubble for antiques, and wouldn't have hurt anyone.
Nathaniel Edmonds Victim 17
Nathaniel Edmonds, was twenty-three years old. He was working as a welder, and had served in the Army. He was well-liked and was dating several different girls.
Nathaniel's father, Valen Edmonds, had remarked that his son wasn't the type of person to go looking for any trouble. He had been brought up in the Church, and believed in God. Valen had come to Detroit with his parents from Georgia. He was one of 13 children, and none of them had ever been in any trouble.
Valen married and had five sons. He had goals for each of his sons, to obtain good jobs, raise good families, and become "God-fearing" men. Valen had worked for Ford Motor Company, and got Nathaniel a job there, after he quit school in the eleventh grade.
Nathaniel's death was reported to the police by a ten-year-old boy who witnessed his shooting, and wrote down the license number of the car, the assailants drove off in.
Apparently there had been an altercation between Nathaniel and two white men. Words were exchanged that the ten-year-old, stated were, "nigger", "boy", and "threatening". One of the boys, took a shot gun from the car and shot Nathaniel, and they drove off.
The police later arrested a young white man named, Shugar, and charged him with first-degree murder.
Nathaniel, was taken to Detroit General Hospital, where he was supposed to be undergoing surgery. His brother, Monzie, had rushed to the hospital, after recieving word that his brother had been shot. He demanded to see his brother and was taken to a bed. But the man in the bed was a white man.
Nathaniel was already in the county morgue, marked as a "John Doe." His family could do nothing, except hope for justice when his killer was brought to trial.
Charles Kemp Victim 18
Charles Kemp, had been a looter. He went to the Borgli Brothers Market about 5:00 p.m. on Monday evening. The market had been almost completely cleaned out since Sunday.
Kemp was from Alabama and worked in a cafeteria there, until he and his wife, Betty decided to move to Detroit, in hopes of a better life. They had two children, and arrived in Detroit in 1966. Kemp had no trouble getting a job, and they made friends quickly.
Kemp was working for a construction firm which contracted him to many different places, such as Boston and even Puerto Rico. Although, initially Charles thought the travel was exciting, he soon grew very tired of the cheap motel rooms and carry-out food, and he missed his family.
Kemp quit the job and took up one with a gas station. The construction firm had been so impressed with his work, they offered him his job back, and promised him jobs near Detroit. He agreed and was to begin back to work in August.
He was finishing up his job at the gas station when the riot first started. Governor Romney limited the amount of fuel that could be sold to an individual, which put Kemp temporarily out of work.
The Borgli Brothers Market was located directly across the street from Tillman Green's home. Tillman was 48 years old, and the store manager. It was full of food goods, meats, and refrigerators packed with inventory. Green watched from his porch as looters carrying out armfuls of food and groceries from the store. By Monday, crowds had gathered to watch looters dash through the market and rush out with their merchandise.
By the time, Kemp had come to the market, there was little left to take. The store already had been cleaned out of cigarettes, meat, and coffee. Kemp entered the store and took five packs of cigars, and apparently noticed a large cash register in the back of the store. As he stood in the storefront's broken window trying to open the register he noticed a patrol car of police and National Guardsmen coming up the street. He dropped the register and jumped out the window to escape.
The police and guardsmen called out for Kemp to halt, but when he didn't stop, they open fired upon him. He was shot in the leg, back, and neck and died on the street, with 5 packs of cigars in his pocket.
Richard Sims Victim 19
Richard Sims lived in an apartment located at 2475 Buena Vista, with his wife, and twelve-year-old daughter. He was very quiet, and his family stuck mostly to themselves. When Sims moved out of his apartment about two months before the riot had started, no one in his apartment building knew why he had left. He took a room only six buildings from his wife, but on the opposite side of the street.
His neighbor, Albert Gayle, who had lived in Detroit since 1955 remarked that Sims was the quietest man he had ever come across. His wife would not comment on a single factor in his life. The last time she saw Richard was Monday, July 24, the night he died.
It was reported that he was down the street from his home, trying to break into a lounge. The lounge at the corner of Buena Vista and Linwood, was called the Hobby Bar, and Sims had been there before, several times. He often drank alone and hadn't caused any trouble.
On Monday, Sims and his wife were watching television, when Richard decided to go for a walk. Mrs Sims, believes a neighbor, Mrs. Adams called the police and stated that Richard was breaking into the bar. Mrs. Adams denied this, even though it was true that she and Richard were not friendly. One of Mrs. Adams' daughters, Carline who was 17 years old, at the time, stated at about 8:30 p.m. her family was watching television in their livingroom. They saw Sims through one of their windows, and that he and another man were trying to break into the back door of the Hobby Bar. A third man appeared to be a look out.
The police came down Linwood and when the 3 men saw them, they ran, and the police jumped from their car and ran after them. Sims made his way through the backyard of the Adams home, and was trying to get in the backdoor, when the police shot him. There were no weapons found on Sims.
He died on the foot steps of the Adam's back door.
Frank Tanner Victim 20
Frank Tanner was a nineteen-year-old young man, who worked in a laundry on East Grand Blvd. On Fridays, he was paid $70, and he would walk to a little store in an apartment building on Grand and Helen Streets to cash his check. The store was owned by Morris Bobroff.
Bobroff's was a mix between a grocery store, a department store, and a bank. You could pay your utility bills, buy wine, and purchase writing paper and pencils, all in the same store.
On Sunday evening, the store was quiet because of the riots, even though they were taking place almost four miles away. Bobroff closed his store and went home, hoping that nothing would happen to his business. About 10:00 p.m., he called a neighbor lady and asked about the condition of his store. She had stated that the looters had just started breaking into his store, and his alarm was sounding. Bobroff was devistated as he had just ordered a shipment of liquor and he could see in his mind, the looters carrying away cases of liquor, and he was right.
Bobroff stated that the police didn't arrive at his store until 2:30 a.m., and all his best stock was gone. Later in the day light hours he went down to his store and boarded up the windows, and attached two extra locks on the door.
Tanner and his friends were discussing what items they might be able to carry away, and from what stores. They figured that Bobroff's was small enough to not have uniformed guards waiting for them. About 9:30 p.m., they were in Bobroff's store gathering liquor and placing it in cardboard boxes.
The National Guard and police came toward the store, as they had seen a crowd of people outside of the store. When they pulled up Tanner was just walking out of the store with a box. The police yelled for everyone to stay where they were, however some people started running, including Tanner. The police open fired on Tanner who made it to the corner of the alley and Helen Street, and fell next to the garbage container.
In all the confusion, apparently the police hadn't noticed they shot Tanner, who must have made it to the alley, and pushed his way through the fence and collapsed in the grass. A neighbor, Joseph L. Metts, called the police at 7:45 a.m., and a squad car arrived. Tanner was pronounced dead on arrival at Detroit General Hospital, twenty minutes later. He had been shot 11 hours earlier.
By 10:00 p.m. on Monday, the official report was fourteen dead, and more than 800 people injuried, including 30 policemen and 15 firemen. There were reports of more than 100 fires and two of those were in police stations. At 11:00 p.m., it was concluded that local law enforcement could not control the situation, and recommended to President Johnson, that Federal troops be deployed. By 11:20 p.m., the executive order was approved and Federal troops were sent, as well as federalizing the National Guardsmen.
Carl Smith Victim 21
Carl Smith was a thirty-two-year-old Veteran of the fire department. He had worked there for 5 years.
On Monday Smith and his Company were at the Department's Mobilization Center on the East Side, when a call came in for 1130 Grand River. The unit was dispatched, and upon arrival was faced with heavy sniper fire, between looters and the police and National Guardsmen.
A Detroit News reporter, James Kerwin, was also on the scene and watched in amazement as National Guardsmen took 7 shots to hit a nearby streetlight, that would help cover fellow officers.
During all of the chaos, Smith was seperated from his unit, and when he looked up he noticed his truck on the other side of the street. Smith made a decision to make a run for the truck and get some cover. He ran out, right between where guardsmen and police had said the hostile fire had originated. As he reached his truck ,he ducked down behind a trash bin.
Witnesses stated that Smith peeked out to look around for a safer place, when he suddenly slapped a hand to his forehead, and fell forward.
Because of continuing gunfire, it took police 40 minutes to reach Smith, who was dead.
A medical exam determined that Smith had been killed by a bullet passing through his head.
An American flag covered his casket that was mounted to a bright red pumper truck, and taken for burial at Elmwood Cemetery.
Tuesday, July 25, 1967
Henry Denson Victim 22
Manuel Cosbey Victim 23
Korean War Veteran
Ronald Evans Victim 24
Born June 29, 1942. Graduate of Highland Park High School. Shot 14 times.
William Jones Victim 25
Age: Thirty-two-years-old. From Birmingham, Alabama. Reported as a fleeing felon
Jerome J. Olshove Victim 26
An off-duty Police Officer, and son of a Police Officer.
Roy Banks Victim 27
Arthur Johnson Victim 28
Perry Williams Victim 29
Jack Sydnor Victim 30
Tonia Blanding Victim 31
John LeRoy Victim 32
Aubrey Pollard Victim 33
Fred Temple Victim 34
Carl Cooper Victim 35
Helen Hall Victim 36
Larry Post Victim 37
George Talbert Victim 38
Willie McDaniels Victim 39
Husband and Father of 2
Julius Lust Victim 40
Husband and Father of 3 year-old-daughter.
Albert Robinson Victim 41
Born in Hamtramck, Michigan. Korean War Veteran
Wednesday, July 26, 1967
William Dalton Victim 42
William Dalton was a nineteen-year-old, young man, who had gone to Central High School, but dropped out in the 11th grade. He worked some odd jobs here and there, but would quit them as he grew restless.
In June of 1967, he went to Job Corp Camp, in Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. It seemed a turning point for Willie, who had decided to obtain a regular job, and stick with a schedule.
On the fourth day of the riot, Willie told his mother that he was going to see how his friends were doing. He and his mother lived on Taylor Street, on the West Side, but Willie had friends from his old neighborhood further West near Grand River.
Witnesses stated that Willie had been stopped by police because he was out passed the 9:30 p.m. curfew. They pushed him, and accused him of being a looter, and an arsonist. They searched Willie, and backed him up into an alley and shoved him against a building. One of the officers was hold a shotgun, pointed at Dalton. Soon after there was a shot, and Willie Dalton was lying dead in the alley. The police left the scene.
A medical exam showed William had been shot in the stomach and the chest from about 10 feet in distance. The police maintained be was shot by a sniper.
His funeral service was held at the Greater St John's Baptist Church, in, Detroit.
Ernest Roquemore Victim 43
Ernest Roquemore was brought up in a stict Catholic home, with his mother, father and 3 other siblings. They lived on the West Side of Detroit.
The details of the 21 victims, without notes, will be posted as they are transcribed.