NEWS NEWS AND MORE NEWS I am going to get all of my memories down, before I forget what I remember!. . . . quote from Stanley Forman

20Apr/110

Cop Shooting 1970 40 Plus Years Later

Deputy Superintendent Barney Schroeder calls for back up after an anti-busing demonstration got out of hand on Boston's City Hall Plaza

 

Deputy Super­in­ten­dent Bar­ney Schroeder calls for back up after an anti-busing demon­stra­tion got out of hand on Boston’s City Hall Plaza

For­give­ness: A show on WGBH-TV, Boston’s PBS sta­tion about the shoot­ing of Boston Police Offi­cer Wal­ter Schroeder killed in the line of duty in 1970. Here are my mem­o­ries of the incident.

The late 60s and early 70s were a tumul­tuous time in Boston and across the Coun­try with all the Viet­nam War protests and unrest towards the gov­ern­ment. I met Offi­cer Wal­ter Schroeder for the first time in the lobby of the Brighton dis­trict police sta­tion after he cap­tured a bank rob­ber. The rob­bery took place at the State Street Bank Branch on the cor­ner of West­ern Avenue and Everett Street in Brighton, the same spot where he would try and stop another rob­bery sev­eral years later and was shot to death.

These were the days when yel­low tape was not in play and inter­views and pho­tos could be taken right up close at the scene of the crime. In a photo oppor­tu­nity after the cap­ture, Schroeder had laid out the money on a bench in the front lobby of the sta­tion along with the rifle he con­fis­cated from the would-be robber.

When the rob­bery that killed Schroeder hap­pened on Sep­tem­ber 24, 1970, I was in Worces­ter with reporter, Ed Corsetti, when we were work­ing for the Record Amer­i­can. We were in Worces­ter cov­er­ing the mur­der of a Priest and a house­wife near a Worces­ter church. While dri­ving back to the news­pa­per we heard about the shoot­ing and went imme­di­ately to the scene.

The only news pho­tog­ra­pher that got the video of any real action was Nat Whit­te­more of WBZ-TV. He had great film of Office Schroeder being worked on by med­ical per­son­nel, pump­ing his heart, try­ing to save him as he was rushed into the emer­gency room of Saint Elizabeth’s Hos­pi­tal. He died shortly there after from his injuries.

The night of the shoot­ing I was asked to stick around after my shift because the edi­tors had infor­ma­tion from Boston Police that the depart­ment had sev­eral leads on the sus­pects of the rob­bery and the edi­tors would know before any­thing happened.

Around 8 o’clock that night I was sent to a build­ing in the 160 block of Bea­con Street in the Back Bay. Detec­tives were get­ting ready to break down the door to a 1st floor apart­ment where they believed the sus­pects were or had been. I stood in the vestibule of the hall­way as they broke the door down. As the police went about their work, I took a photo and yelled, “flash going off!” I did not want them to think a gun was fired.

I was allowed into the apart­ment and walked around with detec­tives. There was a radio which could get police calls, a green mil­i­tary ammu­ni­tion box and read­ing mag­a­zines about weapons. The cops were great and I was allowed to do what­ever so long as I did not touch any­thing. This was the apart­ment of Stan­ley Bond, the reported ring leader of the robbery.

Bond had the sup­port of two female stu­dents from Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity, Susan Saxe and Kather­ine Ann Power, who were even­tu­ally both wanted for mur­der along with the shooter Lefty Gil­day. There was a 5th per­son wanted in the mur­der but I don’t remem­ber his connection.

This story had legs and I was on it for many weeks. I spent time at Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity when Boston Police worked the cam­pus look­ing for any­thing that would lead them to the suspects.

Within a few days of the shoot­ing there was a car chase in the Mer­ri­mac Val­ley area which began on Route 38 in the Tewks­bury. I was in-line along with the police, chas­ing a car which had Lefty Gil­day dri­ving it and we were all fly­ing north on Route 38 from Rt.128 to  Rt.495 and sev­eral times I had to move over to let state police cruis­ers get in front of me.

I was in the chase with the police as we sped up and down the road­way and the chase con­tin­ued on Route 495 in the Haver­hill area. At one point I got off an exit on Haver­hill dri­ving about 80 miles an hour and as I applied the brakes or should I say jammed the brakes, the car rocked from side to side and I said to myself “I am not going to die in this chase!” Yes I did have my seat­belt on. I was dri­ving a 1966 Ply­mouth Fury with a 383 engine. Wow did that car move.

Later that evening, while dri­ving home on Route 60 in Revere I went down the break­down lane to get to the front of an inter­sec­tion where the lights were red. Moments later, I was pulled over by the police for my dri­ving. I told the offi­cer it was prob­a­bly a good thing he pulled me over and explained what I had been doing ear­lier in the day. He told me to smarten up and gave me a warning.

Later in the week I was cov­er­ing Offi­cer Schroeder’s funeral when we got a tip Gil­day had been cap­tured in Worces­ter. Works out he had held a fam­ily in Haver­hill at gun­point for three days and left that morn­ing. I raced out to Worces­ter where the cap­tured Gil­day was brought out to a BPD wagon and trans­ported to Boston and his arraignment.

Gil­day was cap­tured by State Trooper Bobby Long (the bad one as the SPD also had a great Trooper by the same name).

On a side note: Bobby was in a class ahead of me at Revere High and always danced to his own drum­mer. Sev­eral years later after this cap­ture and sub­se­quently becom­ing a local hero, he shot and killed sev­eral peo­ple in Florida includ­ing his girl­friend and is now in a Florida Prison for life. At the time of his trial, he claimed he was hav­ing a flash­back to his days in Viet­nam and after the trial was told had he not reloaded his gun dur­ing the shoot­ing that the defense might have worked.

Stan­ley Bond the reported ring leader of the rob­bery was cap­tured in Den­ver bought back to Boston con­victed and even­tu­ally blew him­self up at MCI Walpole.

Susan Saxe and Kather­ine Ann Pow­ers escaped cap­ture for many years. Ms. Sax was even­tu­ally cap­tured in Philadel­phia and I cov­ered her as she was brought into the Pem­ber­ton Square Court House for arraign­ment. Many years later Kather­ine Ann Pow­ers gave her­self up to author­i­ties on the West Coast. Both woman served time at MCI Framingham.

 

Schroeder His­tory: Detec­tive John Schroeder of Boston Police, brother of Wal­ter Schroeder, was killed in the line of duty in 1973 at an inves­ti­ga­tion. A third brother, Bar­ney, became a Deputy Super­in­ten­dent on the force and is pic­tured above on the day when “The Soil­ing Of Old Glory” photo was taken as he works to restrain the crowd.

Boston Police Head­quar­ters is named “Schroeder Plaza” in mem­ory of the brothers.

Below is

links to other sto­ries on the incident:

http://bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view/2011_0420forgiveness_hard_to_forget/srvc=home&position=4

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1970/10/5/a-bank-is-robbed-a-cop/

 

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