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Transcription of the recorded statement of Richard Iwas, conducted by the Commission on KSU Violence.
[Unknown Speaker]: Testing, 1, 2, 3. Testing, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
[Richard Iwas]: My name’s Richard Iwas. I live at 549 South Lincoln. My phone number is 678-1062.
My contact, or my awareness of what took place those four days of the demonstration at Kent State, was–I first became aware of things happening on the Thurs–well, on the Friday morning when students were coming back on campus in the early morning and talking about how some kids had got harassed downtown for writing anti-war slogans on some of the woodwork in the towns area. But, it wasn’t anything really significant so I didn’t pay that much attention. Although I did hear people mention about going back downtown the following day to do it over. In other words, do over again what they had attempted to do that Thursday.
That Friday night–I work over at Tri-Towers and so I didn’t know what was going on downtown, and when I got to work at about 12, some kids started–were coming into the dorm mentioning about how there was a riot or something was going on downtown which was really big and explosive, and eventually more kids start filtering in and we started getting a more clear picture of what was going on and then they were telling us that students had blockaded the streets, and that they were stopping traffic, and they were writing on walls, and some kids were breaking windows. And then also they mentioned about the police, how they were coming into the bars, chasing people out of the bars, and well just throwing them out of the bars, and gassing them once they come out on the street, and they were pushing everybody back towards the campus, even people that didn’t necessarily live on campus, they were moving them all back towards the campus. And, well what I heard about what was going on wasn’t too clear, but it was generally pretty bad from what it sounded like.
Eventually someone had said something about there being a meeting tomorrow–well, a meeting Saturday at 8 o’clock on the Commons. I get off work at 8 in the morning, so when I get off work at 8, is I go home and I sleep ‘till about 2 or 3 or 4. When I got home and went to sleep and I woke up at about 4 and that’s when I heard this about the meeting on the Commons. So I went out to go get a newspaper over at Perkins Pancake House and from some of the chattering that was going on I knew something had happened, but just what I didn’t know.
So, I–at this time–well, when I got home at about 5 or somewhere around there, two people that work with me over at Tri-Towers, they came over to my house and informed me that Craig Christensen, the area coordinator over there, wanted me to come to work early at about 8 o’clock because he had suspicions of something happening and he wanted me there to help him in case anything really did take place. And so at about 7:50 I left my house to go over to Tri-Towers. As I went on campus to go in that direction, I noticed a crowd gathering on the Commons. At about this time, the crowd measured around 200 people, but a significant number of those people were administrators, staff people, and also faculty, and they were there more so to try and keep anything from really getting out of hand. And so I stayed there for about 15 minutes and the crowd was growing–not enormous at the time, but people were coming down in small groups, say of two, three, and five, something like that, but it was growing.
I left and I went over to Tri-Towers to see just what it is Craig wanted me to do, and by the time I got there I noticed a crowd that was on the Commons or a crowd from somewhere started marching in the general direction of the dorms, and you could hear some of the chants they were saying, and eventually when they got up to Tri-Towers they all marched into the dorm. And they were–from what was going on it seemed as if they were attempting to draw more students into their march. But whether they did or not, I don’t know. Although I noticed the crowd had grew considerably from the time that I had left. At this time, they stayed in the dorm I’d say for about 10 or 15 minutes and some students in the dorm did come down and join them, and eventually they left Tri-Towers. Some of them had wrote on the walls, some had–someone or some people decided to pull the fire alarm and nothing really disruptive really took place other than the fire alarm being pulled.
Then when they left Tri-Towers they marched in the general direction of Korb Hall and Eastway Center, and, I gathered, Beall or McDowell, I’m not too sure of that. But they left those dorms and after about 20 minutes, myself and the other staff workers at Tri-Towers got everything back to normal. We–I left to see which direction the crowd was going in case that they decided to come back to Tri-Towers. I felt maybe a little early notice and we could be more prepared for them. But when I finally caught up with the crowd, I was standing up on top of the hill by Taylor Hall. It was at this time that I noticed–well I saw figures darting towards the ROTC building, and I don’t know what it was that they threw in but something went in that was burning and then the fire started. But, no more than four or five minutes, the fire truck was on the scene and the fire was–it was a little–not enormous, but it was growing. But when the fire department got there they were able to put the fire out.
Undoubtedly, this must have disturbed quite a few of the students, for when I got closer to ROTC building–to the building, I was standing next to Dr. Kitner and a few other people I’m not necessarily familiar with, and as we stood there, they had attempted to stop the students from doing what they were doing, but their words just weren’t heeded at that time. Anyway, the students, they attacked the firemen. Some of them ran and grabbed the fire hose and then other ones went up and grabbed the firemen, just took the hose from them. And then three other people, they ran up and they threw fire or they threw something into the back windows of the ROTC building and this really got it going at that time. I’m not sure if these were girls or guys. I believe one of the people involved was a girl. I’m not sure.
Then the fire really started going at this time, but then the police came on the scene and once they got there, then the crowd sort of–I gathered they sensed, [unintelligible] what took place the previous night, so they moved back, and they moved back towards the tennis court–between the tennis court and Taylor Hall. And then some of them was going back, some of them decided to tear down the fence and eventually they tore down the fence, and then somebody decided to break into the storehouse by–well that little storehouse where they keep the girls’ athletic equipment and the next thing that started burning up.
Everyone was standing around looking at the ROTC building burn, then the next thing somebody said, “Let’s go downtown.” At this time it seemed as if there was about four or five people that were really sparking everyone else and that they really wanted to cause havoc or do something. And so what they did, they managed to get the crowd at a good pitch in which they would follow these individuals, and so they all started walking towards the downtown area. They went around the education building–excuse me, they went around Terrace Hall, and they started marching down the main street. And then, they started knocking out windows. They knocked out the window of one telephone booth, and I’m not sure of what other places they did.
Eventually they got down towards the Sohio station, which used to be Curfman’s Sohio station–I’m not familiar with whose it is now. But anyway, they were doing–it was a construction crew over there that had been doing some work over on the station and that they had these saw horses set up to keep people from walking out on the fresh laid cement. So what the students did, they grabbed some of the fire horses and they put them–excuse me, some of the saw horses–and they put them in the middle of the street and they also pulled out this one power machine which was used to generate power energy for the–some power tools and it has a tank of gasoline connected on to it, and this tank, I’d say, holds about 50 gallons of gasoline. So the students wanted to turn it over to spread gasoline over the wood which they had out in the street, but at this time some professor who was still attempting to keep the students calmed down and to get them back on campus–he finally got them to heed his word and they sort of left the thing there in the middle of the street. It was myself, two people in the administration–I know them by sight, but I don’t know them by name–and the professor whom helped pull the thing back off the street, and then we grabbed some of the wood and we kicked that back over towards the station.
At about this time was when the National Guards was coming in and they pulled–they were driving right down Main Street. Once the students got sight of them, most of them came to their senses and then they came back on campus. But there was still this one group whom were really at a pitch and they really wanted to march downtown and undoubtedly they hadn’t noticed at the time that the main body of students had came back on campus and was not following them anymore. They walked up to about the University Shop–I’m not familiar–I’m not sure–but anyway, they walked up a distance, and then I think they encountered police or troops at this time. But anyway, they kept calling back for the students to join them, to join them, they were going downtown. But the students–I think their better sense prevailed and they decided not to, and so eventually this crowd came back. But before they got there I think everybody was walking up the steps towards the Administration Building, and then from the Administration Building they walked around the side–the left side of Kent Hall, and then that’s when they encountered the police again. Then about this time, I think, I don’t know–I believe some students started throwing rocks and bricks at them. The police gassed them, and then all the students went around to Taylor Hall.
Then, most of them were sitting on the side of the hill watching the fire. At this time most of the professors–some of the professors who were still out trying to control the crowd, seemingly had everything under control, and then a few people who saw their presence weren’t doing anything as far as helping the crowd, myself included, well we just left. And so when I went on back to work over at Tri-Towers, and I don’t know, I’d say within–I’m really not sure what time, but anyway, eventually everyone came back to Tri-Towers. And as they sat over there at Tri-Towers, they–I gathered the police had gassed them and chased them in that direction. And then as then as they came in, a lot of people were really panicky and shook-up. There was just a lot of rumors of what’s going on. Some people said that the police and National Guards were out there beating students with clubs. Some said that some of the students had gotten bayoneted. But really, the mood of the students at the time was that of fear. And so, myself, Mr. Christensen, and a few of the people in the administration, we tried–we attempted–to keep the crowd under control and trying to give them the facts which was coming in over the telephone. At this time, a few people–a few graduate students, I believe, were trying to help the crowd and pass out what information they also knew and eventually the crowd calmed down somewhat.
And then at this time, some kid came up–one of the kids that worked at the desk with me–he came up and he informed me that somebody over there had a machete. I gathered it was–I don’t know really what it was doing, but anyway, I went over and asked the kid, “Would you please leave the dorm with that machete?”, because–well, not leave the dorm, but put it away somewhere because all you’re doing is upsetting people with that thing. And then his reply to me was, well, you know like “It’s not a concealed weapon, I have it strapped on my leg,” and such and such. And so I said well, “Okay I can’t do anything about it.” I didn’t want to let anything get out of hand, so I sort of refrained from continuing the argument. I went back and there was another kid that happened to have a knife of some sort and they asked me if I would talk to him. So I went over and talked to him, but he had gotten rid of his somewhere–I don’t know what he had done, and really I don’t even know what he had. But eventually the crowd was calming down, and then everybody was trying–well, not everybody, but a few people were trying to tell them to do this, but everything was different. No one had any–it was no unity about what the students should do. But one thing was that I told them over the PA systems that everyone should stay in the dorm instead of going out on the streets, because they didn’t know really what would happen.
At this time, I called over–I called the police department and I asked them just what, and they told me that they didn’t have the control at this time and that the National Guard–or somebody else was handling everything at this time. So then I went outside and I noticed, I believe it was Mr. Schwartzmiller, and two officers in the Highway Patrol, and I went over there and asked them just what is the situation with the students, can they leave the dorm and will anything happen to them? And he told me–I can’t really remember what he told me, but it wasn’t anything inflammatory, but that he would send a police officer over, John Marshall, to inform the students just what it was they could do. Eventually I called over to Beall, McDowell, because it was rumored that the police allowed those students over there to leave. They gave them a time limit in which they could leave the dorm and go to their housing whether off-campus or on. When I called over there, it was proved to be true and so then I informed the students over the PA system that they had so many minutes to leave, in which to get back to their dorms and stuff. But then some of them didn’t really believe it. Eventually at this time, a police truck–the tow truck, and a police cruiser pulled up to the front of the rotunda area. So myself, and I believe it was Mr. Christensen, we went out and then they informed us that the students did have a certain amount of time in which to get back to their dorm. We went back in, we informed them of this, and then the crowd started dispersing as students started going off in the general direction of their dorms or their off-campus housing. I think everything was cleared up in Tri-Towers at about 2:00. The last of the students that were not in the dorm I believe was out at 2:30. That was what took place at Tri-Towers.
At 8 o’clock that morning, I got off and the kid that was working with me, he gave me a ride home. But we took a ride around campus and we drove past the ROTC building and then that’s when I noticed that the building was burned to the ground. He took me on home. That Sunday, myself and someone else, we just took a walk around campus. Really everybody was out walking around campus, looking at the troops and looking at the ROTC building. Some of us, including myself, were talking to some of the troops. And then that Sunday, someone said something about a meeting, I’m not sure what it was–but anyway, there was a meeting at 8 o’clock on the Commons.
And I left my house at about 7:30 I believe, because I was going to the library at this time. When I got to the library–well, not to the library–when I got to McGilvrey Hall coming from my house, someone mentioned that there was a crowd on the Commons. So curiosity got the better of me, and I walked towards the Commons. Really I don’t think there was a crowd at the time. But the direction I came in–I was coming towards Van Deusen and the police station, and that’s when I noticed the crowd there. And they were–really it was nothing–really it was just people standing there talking. And then the next thing I know, the same group of people that inspired everyone to go downtown the other night–well, someone mentioned, “Let’s march on White’s house,” or something like that. And then they–everybody just took off. And at this time I was going over towards Tri-Towers to see if Craig wanted me to work again, because I didn’t know if they were going to the dorms or not. But when they finally got over there, Craig was already prepared for them and then I was leaving.
As I left, I noticed a crowd walking towards Dunbar, and I can’t think of the Home Ec [Home Economics] building’s name, but that’s the direction they were walking. The next thing I know is they all come running back in the direction where I was at. I was up by the Music and Speech Building, and I found out why, ‘cause then they were getting gassed. And then, I think everybody got gassed even those of us that were over at the building, because they didn’t throw–the police didn’t throw gas canisters at us, but it was just that the gas spread everywhere. Some of the people that were over there really got incensed about this and they didn’t like the idea of getting gassed. That’s what caused some of them to join what was a small group at this time. Then you started seeing people from really everywhere started to join this group, and it seemed like they had two groups, one in the parking lot at Dunbar and one in the parking lot of the Music and Speech building. They both got together and this crowd then started marching towards the Commons. Really everybody had to go around them because the police had that area blocked off. I saw–I had to go around in that direction because I knew if–I feared if I went out around towards Main Street, that I’d be locked up for curfew or something.
So when everybody started walking in that direction, I–the crowd started going towards–they got–they were on the Commons at this time and I believe they went out to–I’m not sure just how, but eventually they got out to the street, and at this time I was standing at the back door of the library and I went to go in, but one of the police officers said I couldn’t go in, and I couldn’t understand why, and I asked them why and he said, “No one can go in the library.” And then some student came up and told me, “Hey, someone in the building got guns and some of the students took over the library.” Well this proved to be false. So what I did–then I walked around to the front of the library, and then the Guards was standing there and told me I couldn’t go in, so then I just walked out to the front of the campus. Then I noticed there was a crowd of students sitting out there, sitting in the street and they were confronted by I don’t know what–National Guard, Highway Patrol, police–it seemed like everybody was out there. I don’t know, it was just a standoff–the students were sitting there and the police were standing there watching them. I don’t know, well I sorta thought they were going to get gassed again.
So I walked around the library and was standing behind the rear line of National Guards troops, and from there I had a pretty good view of what was taking place. Well, really nothing–except the helicopter came and was hovering over the students with a light shining on them, and so they sat there and watched each other. Eventually, I went on home and I don’t know, I must–I was there for a period of time, and at about 10:30 was when I noticed students coming up the street and then I also–because I live on S. Lincoln, and I can look down the street, and so then I noticed National Guards troops and generally everybody chasing these students up the street. And I went down to stand on my neighbor’s porch because they have a better–they can see everything ‘cause they live at the corner of Summit and Lincoln. So as we were standing there, some troops and police officers, they came up to us and told us to “Get into our fucking houses,” and they were really–they really used abusive language. Not that that upset us that much, but they seemed like they cared little who you were–just what you were doing, rather. It’s just that they were the authority and they had no respect for you, so I think that was an attitude which they had and eventually a lot of other people got this attitude towards them.
Well, they chased some kid up the street of Lincoln and they got him and they chased quite a few people and they came back with quite a few people. When they eventually passed the intersection of Summit and Lincoln, I waited for about 10 or 15 minutes before I attempted to go up to my house, because I didn’t want to be caught out there for the curfew violation or anything. So eventually when they left and I waited for this period, and I went on home. And then as I was sitting up there, it was about 11 at the time–well, it was a little before 11, because I was watching the news. The news was getting ready to come on, and when they did come on they mentioned something about the disturbance at Kent. Really that was just about all that I know took place that night.
That following Monday morning I had a 9:55 psychology class at Dr. Baron and when I went there–[laughs] it was one of the few times I made that class, but anyway I noticed that crowd of students that were there, the enrollment of students seemingly increased because I guess everybody was curious about what was going to be said in their classes today about what had taken place the following days. So Dr. Baron was telling us about how the students at University of Cincinnati had went by–had took their demonstration to the street, but had kept it very orderly and that everything was under control and there was no force or no violence used by either group and that this should be the way that the students of Kent should attempt to obtain their goals and not by stirring up violence. His speech sort of got to me because I started thinking like well, the students were trying to do that, but every time they went somewhere they were getting gassed. Even over at Tri-Towers, like the gas that they had used on the students on the Commons would come all the way over to the dorms. And I mean students didn’t want to do anything if they were going to end up getting gassed. It was really, well I sort of felt, a negative feeling that the students had toward Dr. Baron at this time, which I really can’t say for sure.
But eventually, the class was out and then people were gathering in the Hub area and so then there was a crowd of students that were standing by a roped-off area that was stopping them from going past the ROTC building. And really, students were just standing there looking at the building, looking at the Guard, taking pictures. I think it was about 10:30 that I had to go home–well, I didn’t have to, but I just decided to go on home to get something to eat. When I got there, nothing really–I just stayed there and ate something. Then I was walking back towards school and I think it was about 12:10, and I met a friend, a girl named Becky–I can’t remember her last name. But we–well before I met her, I was going past the National Guard setup and then one of them asked me, “Was there a meeting on the Commons?” And well this is the first time I heard about that so told him, I said, “I don’t know.” And then he said, “This is what we had heard,” and then he asked me if I knew a kid named Walt, whom I had spoken to earlier at that time and he’d noticed us talking and I said, “Yeah,” and he told me, he said, they had grew up together and that they knew each other and I told him, “Well that’s good.” While I was leaving–as I was getting ready to leave, another friend of mine came up, Mary, and I asked her, I said “Mary, are you going to the meeting on the Commons?” and she told me that she didn’t know anything about it. She didn’t know there was a meeting, and so I told her what the Guardsman had told me.
And so as I was walking towards the Commons, that’s when I met another friend, Becky, and I asked her and she sort of mentioned yeah that she had heard something about a meeting on the Commons and eventually–well, when I got there that’s when I noticed a line of National Guards troops by the ROTC building and then I heard the kid ringing a bell and well, you could see a crowd gathering. Well the crowd–well it seemed like it was two groups–it was a group of students down on the Commons and it was a group of students up by Taylor Hall. And so I walked down towards the fence by the psych building and around the fence and I was going up towards the hill by Taylor Hall and eventually I stopped and I sat down on the grass that was on the fringe of the Commons and I was sitting there with a friend of mine, I believe it was Ralph [unintelligible]–I’m not sure.
As we sat there, we noticed a jeep come out and in this jeep I believe was a University police officer with three Guardsmen. He issued an order, he said that, “Will you please disperse, this is an unlawful assembly.” And then it was shouts from the crowd that, “This is a peaceful assembly!”, “This is our university!”, “Pigs off campus!”, and things of that nature. He came back one other time to say it and this time somebody threw a rock out and then you heard from the crowd, “Don’t throw rocks, don’t throw rocks! This is a peaceful demonstration!”, and some kids were really begging people not to throw rocks. We only noticed one rock being thrown, but then we heard the police officer remark, “Get out of here,” because he still had his loudspeaker on. He said, “They’re throwing rocks.”
And then when they turned around to leave, that’s when the gas came and I believe the first round of gas they shot–and they shot over in the direction where we were at and really that group of students–although we were close by the Commons, we weren’t in the actual confrontation, and I gather that sort of incensed some students too. And then eventually they shot another round of gas and they shot this one right over in the direction of the psych building where there was just a crowd of students that were looking. And they got gassed and then they got teed-off. I noticed this because that’s where we were going and when we saw gas over there, we took off towards Taylor Hall. When I got into Taylor Hall, I took off my shirt to get to my t-shirt so I could stick it under the water faucet and wet it and cover my face.
So when I finally got through–got to doing all this and when I stepped outside Taylor Hall, and I stepped around the side of it, that’s when I noticed that the Guard had came up the hill and they went down the hill, and they were down by the football field and from there where we were standing up by–up on the hill on Taylor Hall, I saw the students that were–some that were in the parking lot between Prentice and Taylor and a large gathering of students between Dunbar and Prentice Hall and from there, students–some students were throwing rocks and I gather they were getting the rocks from the parking lot by Dunbar Hall and most of the rocks they were throwing from what I could see weren’t even reaching the Guardsmen. Well the Guardsmen shot a gas canister over there in that direction, and that sort of chased them back some more. And then the–I think the last canister they shot, they shot up in the direction of the hill and that seemed funny at the time, because the only thing we were doing up there on the hill is just looking, but when they shot it some kid ran down the hill, he grabbed it, and he threw it back at them. Then somebody picked it up–one of the Guardsmen picked it up–and he threw it up the hill and the kid picked it up and well this thing was going back and forth. It was almost like it was a game, because some of the Guardsmen were even picking up rocks and throwing them back at students.
Anyway, they started to come back towards the direction in which they had came from, off the hill of Taylor Hall, and I moved in the direction of Memorial Gym because I didn’t want to get bayoneted or anything and well, maybe because I have sort of a negative feeling about the National Guard. So when they came back, I think they got to the crest of the hill and at this time while I was moving along the middle part of that hill and then when they got to the top of it, I’d say they–it seemed like they were going right back down the hill. But then well, I noticed kids coming from the parking lot area and from the side of Taylor Hall and some of them were throwing rocks. Some of them I’d say were close–say about 30, 40, or 50 feet, I’m not sure. And then at this time the Guardsmen, from where I could see, they just turned around, some of them knelt down, although on the side where I was at, those Guardsmen didn’t turn around, mainly because I don’t feel that they were being–they felt that they were being threatened. The group that did turn around, some knelt and some were standing up and then, well, I don’t know, like instinct–I just hit the ground and I started rolling down the hill and then I heard firing. And then I don’t know how long it continued because I was rolling down the hill. It seemed like for a long period of time.
When I got to the bottom of the hill, which was really the street, I had to sit there for a while to clear my head from being dizzy and as I got up, and I looked up the road–I’d say about 100 feet, I noticed this kid that was laying in the street and blood coming down. I assumed that he was–that he had fell or somebody had hit him with a rock, I thought at the time. And then when I got closer I noticed a girl that was kneeling by him screaming, “They shot us, they shot us!” I couldn’t believe it because I thought that they would be–I don’t know, even though I had rolled down the hill and ducked, I still thought they were shooting blanks. Because when I was in the service that was one of the things we used in riot control, to shoot blanks, and one of our tactics was to shoot over the crowd, just really to scare them and show them a show of force but not really use this force. And then as I got up to the kid it was a crowd that was gathering around and then as I looked around the parking lot that’s when I noticed a lot of kids–kids were laying everywhere, that had been shot.
I don’t know, I got shook up and I couldn’t believe they had shot at us and especially in the way that they had right into a crowd and I started walking towards Prentice Hall and maybe because I was really emotional at this time. And then when I got–started walking in this direction, some girl I assume that had been overcome by shock or smoke or something, she collapsed and so I helped–well, I picked her up and I carried her to Prentice Hall and I set her down on a mattress someone had brought down and I asked some people to bring me some ice. And so when we got the ice I put it on her forehead and really, I guess it was just the gas or something, because she was somewhat choking in her lungs, trying to get air I guess. And as I sat there for about–with her about 15 or 20 minutes and she finally got herself more coherent. And during this time period they had brought some of the students in and one of the kids had got shot in the foot and he was making somewhat of a joke about it, but honestly you could see the hurt in his face. Eventually, someone had said, “Call the ambulance, call the ambulance.” Well, the ambulance had gotten there and they were carrying students away.
And then when I stepped outside Prentice Hall, I noticed the crowd and it had grew enormously. I’d say at this time must have been 3,000 students–3 to 4,000 students and then like, some of the feelings that were going on–some of these kids were really T.O.’d–well, “T.O.’d”, I mean “ticked-off.” Some of them were just–I don’t know, it was just nothing but confusion out there–confusion, shock, and fear. And so what happened then was, I met a friend and she had to go around Cunningham Hall–go to Cunningham Hall, and so I walked her over to the bus stop at the Music and Speech building, and so I got on the bus when I rode to Cunningham Hall where she was going to meet a friend to drive home. When we got over to Cunningham she met some friends and she got a ride with them, and so I started walking back towards the Commons. But I went through [unintelligible] through Johnson Hall and I walked up on the roof when I noticed kids had gathered, and from the roof must have been about 50 to 60 kids up there on the roof looking down.
And then at this time, when I looked down must have been, I don’t know, about 5,000 students on the Commons and they were facing the troops and they must have brought reinforcements in, the troops that is, because then they had quite a bit more troops out there and they were facing the students and the students were facing them. And then you could hear some more shouts but nothing really heavy as before and well they–well really nothing happened except that I noticed about 15 or 20 Highway Patrolmen go to the group towards–that was over by Engleman Hall and the tennis court. And then they came back with two kids, which I don’t know if they were arresting just what, but I assume they were arresting. And then some more troops–well, Highway Patrolmen came up in the direction of the Commons and they were followed by a platoon of National Guardsmen and they, well really nothing happened then. They just stood there looking at the kids. At this time, I had walked around everything, I was standing up by–well, I went in the Hub and as I went in there to get a Coke and as I was getting a Coke, some of the girls that were working there, I gather they had got shook up and so they were leaving, and then they had a skeleton crew of administrative personnel handling the cash register and Coke stand in the Hub.
So at this time I was really pissed off at what happened and I was telling one of the kids there in line what I had saw and there was this one National Guardsman was standing there with some kids in ROTC I assume, and they were going to defend what happened and I sort of told them in a thousand words or less what I thought about him and his National Guardsmen. Well they left, and I went downstairs in a booth and then from the conversation that was going on in the Hub, I think everybody in there was really pissed off. This is strange in itself because the kids that people associate, that hang out in the Hub are really quiet, complacent, apathetic kids and nothing shakes them supposedly. But undoubtedly this did, and they were behind somewhat more the anti-war movement, which I thought was what was taking place this weekend and they–well, eventually I went on outside and I was standing up by the roped-off area looking down at the Commons and there I could see the troops, the students back up towards Taylor Hall, Prentice Hall. They were just gathered everywhere but I mean you could see a large group of students and I must have stood there for about a half hour.
Then Dr. Baron, Dr. Frank, and someone else, had came up to where we were and they announced that the University had been closed indefinitely. Dr. Baron was really shook-up, well he was–you could tell that he was crying and that he wanted everyone to leave, because he felt that these guys had real live ammunition. He didn’t know what they were doing with live ammunition on campus and that they had–some students had been killed and so no one else would be–get killed, he wanted everyone to leave, and that word would be passed to us when the University would be open again. At this time, I was really angry now and I noticed–well, whom I did consider a friend, but now I doubt very much–a police officer Bob Stewart who works for the University, and then I asked him–well, I didn’t really ask, I shouted at him to “Take off his uniform!”, and that, “They’re shooting people! They’re shooting at us–not just students–well, not just Black people, but they’re just shooting everybody,” and that “working for the University, he’s committing a crime against all of us.” And everyone–myself and everyone else was shouting it–I don’t know it was more–no rational thought behind it, but everybody seemingly was just angry.
I live right off campus, so I didn’t go through the necessary hassle that the students who lived on campus had to go through and so when I went home–I was there about an hour or so and that’s when my two roommates, Fred Hall and Darnell Macklin, had came in and I had noticed I hadn’t seen them all day and I asked them where they had been and they told me that they had gotten locked up the previous night for curfew violation. And what had happened there, the curfew was announced at one time, but then they changed it again and that’s when they happened to be caught out and so they were locked up. That was it. Everyone knows of the confusion that happened Monday–the students trying to get off campus and everything and then that Monday night–well, Monday I believe the curfew went in effect at 5 or 8, I’m not sure, and it was an early curfew and then they–well the troops, they had come up the street and helicopters flying over and everybody–it was just an ugly mood I think people had because of what everything that had taken place.
I left Kent on Tuesday, because my stepmother, she came down to get me, and that Tuesday I went into Cleveland and I stayed there until Wednesday at which I came back and then that Friday–down in Kent–and I left to go to Washington with some friends. In Washington I don’t know really what was expected or what we wanted, but I just went. Then I came back that Saturday and when I called home, my mother informed me that some FBI agents had come over my house and they were looking for me and I couldn’t understand what they wanted me for. So I called their office sometime on Sunday and then they told me that they would send someone down over to my house that Monday to find out what I knew and what I had saw. Well, they eventually came over and so I told them what I had seen and before them a reporter from Detroit Free Press had came over to see me and I told the reporter what I had saw. That’s my side of the story.×
Recorded statement of Richard Iwas conducted by the CKSUV. Iwas, a student, veteran, and worker at Tri-Towers at time of events of May 1-4, 1970. He talks about incidents downtown on Friday and the ROTC fire and other incidents on Saturday and Sunday, before the shootings. He had a class in psychology with Dr. Seymour Baron on Monday, May 4, 1970. He was also present near the Commons at time of shootings and witnessed wounded and slain students. He discusses immediate aftermath of shootings at length.
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May 4 Collection