Man Who Was Shot At Kent State University Says Tape May Reveal Order To Fire On Protesters

Monday, April 30th 2007, 3:51 pm
By: News On 6

CLEVELAND (AP) _ An audio recording made when National Guard troops killed four Kent State University students during an anti-war demonstration could resolve the mystery of whether a command to fire was issued and may offer a chance for healing for victims and shooters, a survivor said Monday.

``We're not seeking revenge; we're not seeking punishment for the Guardsmen at this late date,'' said Alan Canfora, wounded in the wrist during the confrontation 37 years ago.

``All we want is the truth because we seek healing at Kent State for the student victims, as well as the triggermen who were ordered to fire. And healing can only result from the truth, and that's all we want.''

He wants the government to reopen the case.

Four Kent State students were killed and nine were wounded in the clash, which followed several days of Vietnam War protests. In 1974, eight Guardsmen were acquitted of federal civil rights charges.

Canfora said he recently requested a copy of the nearly 30-minute tape from Yale University, where a government copy has been stored in an archive.

He says that just before the 13-second volley of gunfire, a voice on the tape is heard yelling, ``Right here! Get Set! Point! Fire!''

Canfora said he was convinced from his research _ including other tapes and photos _ that the command was issued by one of three Guard officers at the shooting site.

``The time has now come to where it's impossible to deny the verbal command to fire,'' Canfora said.

The government should analyze the recording using new technology, he said.

After the shooting, the FBI investigated whether an order had been given to fire, and said it could only speculate. One theory was that a Guardsman panicked or fired intentionally at a student and that others fired when they heard the shot.

The FBI would look into any new inquiry about the shootings, spokesman Scott Wilson said.

The Ohio National Guard had no comment on the tape, spokesman James Sims said.

Canfora said the reel-to-reel audio recording was made by Terry Strubbe, a student who placed a microphone at a window sill of his dormitory that overlooked the anti-war rally. Strubbe turned the tape over to the FBI, which kept a copy.

Canfora planned to release CD copies of the recording Tuesday at a news conference at Kent State, about 30 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Strubbe, who still lives near Kent, keeps the original tape in a safe deposit box, said Canfora, who heads a nonprofit organization at Kent State that leads a candlelight vigil every May 4 to mark the anniversary of the shootings.

Strubbe didn't return a message seeking comment Monday.