Skip to comments.FLASHBACK: 1973: Mark Essex, the Howard Johnson's sniper
Posted on 10/06/2017 10:25:44 AM PDT by TigerClaws
Mark Essexs campaign of terror against the New Orleans police climaxed on Jan. 7 in an 11-hour rampage at the Howard Johnsons hotel on Loyola Avenue, where he killed seven people, including three police officers, and wounded eight.
A week earlier, he had killed two other police officers and wounded one.
Mark James Robert Essex was born in Emporia, Kansas. Kicked out of the Navy after two years with a general discharge for unsuitability for "character and behavior disorders," the 23-year-old took up radical Black Panther politics and developed an intense hatred for the police. He came to the city to meet up with a friend who shared his politics. .
In late December 1972, Essex mailed a note to WWL-TV warning about a Dec. 31 attack on the New Orleans Police Department. The note wasnt opened until the day before the hotel attack. And indeed, On New Years Eve, he gunned down a police cadet and another officer who chased him to Gert Town. He eluded police for a week until he wounded a Gert Town grocer and then headed for the Howard Johnsons.
In front of room 1829, Essex shot to death Dr. Robert Steagall and his wife Betty Steagall. He soaked telephone books with lighter fluid and set them ablaze under the curtains of the Steagalls' room. On the 11th floor, Essex shot his way into rooms and set more fires. He killed Frank Schneider, the hotel's assistant manager, and shot Walter Collins, the hotel's general manager.
As dusk approached, Essex was trapped in a block house on the hotel roof. The U.S. Marines volunteered a helicopter to get to him. During passes over the roof, officers poured gunfire at the block house while Essex popped out sporadically to fire back.
(Excerpt) Read more at nola.com ...
I’ve never heard of him and I live just down the road from Emporia. I was in Chicago then. With no TV.
I live in the suburbs now, but then I lived in New Orleans, and I’ve been thinking about this incident during all the coverage of the Las Vegas shooting. I remember that day so well. I had missed an entire week of work due to the flu, and was planning on going back to work that day, but the police shut down the entire downtown area of N.O. where I worked, so I got to recuperate one extra day. I went to grammar school with Philip Coleman, the first cop killed that day.
I remember it very clearly. Saw it play out o live TV. The storming of the rooftop. Hundreds of rounds fired. Cops hit, by other cops. Perp was already dead.
What many don’t realize is one person shot that day had a 30-06 bullet in him. Essex used a .44 magnum. Who shot this man?
I live in Mobile and I’d never heard about him. TV movie about Whitman (UT sniper).
Nothing about this guy. Guess he’s the wrong race to show as a mass shooter...
The 46 piloted by future LtGen Pitman.
He used a .44 Magnum Ruger carbine and even it was shot to pieces. The 30-06 round must have been a police shot gone awry.
Just another breakdown as the Sucky Sixties were followed by the Surly Seventies and Carter malaise succeeded post-Vietnam malaise and nothing really improved until the election of Ronald Reagan.
Except for the Israeli victory that year I would rather forget 1973.
The first BLMer!
I knew the pilots of the Marine helo, the HAC was Charles Pittman, the H2P was Whimpey Whimler.
They launched with a rifle squad in the back and pretty much ignoring Posse Comitatus. On landing, the base CO was there with a charge sheet for all the regs they had broken. Word of this got out to the public and an uproar ensued, they dropped the charges and gave them medals.
Pittman had an amazing career, I went through flight school in the early 80’s, late one Friday afternoon I went to Trader Jons a famous bar/strip joint/museum, there sitting at a table by himself was Col (Gen select) Pittman drinking a Bud. This was before tail hook when one could still have fun. He was in charge of the helps at Desert one and retired as DCS Air as a three star.
Whimpey got his name because he knew what they were doing was shakey. He was a short guy and was famous for standing on his head on the bar at the O club and chugging beer. He retired as a LCOL.
Amazing men from another time.
That was helos at Desert one.
I remember watching this on the tube. A live firefight, you don’t see that very often. Hours of nothing, but in real time you never knew when the next bullets would fly.
At one point the cops staged an assault, “over the top,” many cops stormed out from cover and charged the blockhouse on the roof, and a couple cops fell and the others retreated and dragged back the wounded. Later it turned out they were hit by their own ricochets, the perp was already dead. But nobody knew that yet.
I remember it well. I was a freshman at LSU medical center and lived in married students dorm on Perdido St not far from the shooting. I was returning from Baton Rouge for the weekend and saw all the activity in the air before I tuned into radio to find out what was happening. Stayed in the dorm until it was all over. I seem to remember the Super Dome was under construction at the time.
I was 16 years old in 1972. I remember this very well. I remember six years earlier when Charles Whitman opened fire from the bell tower at Texas A&M.
The Posse Comitatus Act is directly applicable only to units of the Army and Air force. The Navy and Marine Corps are guided by Naval REGULATIONS, which does not have the same legal import has statute law, but does have the same practical effect.
Good on those gyrenes for doing the right thing though. They saw their primary duty has protecting the American people.
My brother was shot on the roof and still has the bullet in his leg.
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