Officer down

Like most other residents of New Orleans, Charles H. Pitman watched the television in horror on January 7, 1973, as countless authorities tried to stop a sniper or snipers who invaded the Downtown Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge in New Orleans, and fatally shot seven people, including three police officers.

Whom ever was on the hotel roof that Sunday morning was well out of the NOPD’s reach. As shots rang out from various spots in the 17-story hotel,  police thought there was more than one gunman, but the cops eventually contained the killer or killers to the roof, but could do little more.

Unlike other residents of New Orleans, Charles H. Pitman was aka Charles H. “Chuck” Pitman — at the time a 37-year-old lieutenant colonel Marine helicopter pilot in charge of a Marine air unit stationed in Belle Chasse, I thought, “We’ve got to do something. Those people need help out there.”

Chuck Pitman-Retirement-Photo.jpg

So Pitman did do something. He flew a Marine helicopter to the hotel on Loyola Avenue and helped police officers, some of them on board the chopper, kill 23-year-old sniper Mark Essex determined to be the sole killer. During his nearly four decades in the Marines, he earned numerous honors, among them a Silver Star for valor, four Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star with Combat “V,” a Purple Heart and 65 air medals. Pitman participated in Operation Eagle Claw, an attempt ordered by President Jimmy Carter to rescue 52 Americans being held hostage in Iran.

He considers Eagle Claw one of the most difficult moments of his career.The mission ended in disaster when a helicopter collided with a transport plane, killing eight American servicemen. Nonetheless, he says he is perhaps most proud of having served alongside the New Orleans police during their clash with Essex on one of the darkest days in he city’s history, for which he was made an honorary NOPD captain on Nov. 8, 1991. _______________________________________________

Charles Joseph Whitman (June 24, 1941 – August 1, 1966) was an engineering student and former Marine who killed 14 people and wounded 32 others in a shooting rampage located in and around the University of Texas Tower in Austin on the afternoon of August 1, 1966.

Three persons were killed inside the university’s tower, with 11 others murdered after Whitman fired at random targets from the 28th-floor observation deck of the Main Building. Prior to starting the shootings at the University of Texas, Whitman had murdered both his wife and mother in Austin. Whitman was shot and killed by Austin Police Officer Houston McCoy. _____________________________________________________

John Allen Muhammad (December 31, 1960 – November 10, 2009) was a convicted murderer from the United States. He, along with his seventeen-year-old partner, Lee Boyd Malvo carried out the 2002 Beltway Sniper attacks, killing at least 10 people. Muhammad was executed by lethal injection on November 10, 2009,


Lee Boyd Malvo (also known as John Lee Malvo), born February 18, 1985, is a convicted murderer who, along with John Allen Muhammad who committed murders in connection with the sniper attacks in the Washington Metropolitan Area over a three-week period in October 2002.         _____________________________________________________

The Kent State shootings—also known as the May 4 massacre or the Kent State massacre occurred at the U.S. city of Kent Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.

Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the war in Cambodia which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.



Carlos Hathcock (May 20, 1942 – February 23, 1999) was a U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant sniper with a service record of 93 confirmed kills. Hathcock’s record and the extraordinary details of the missions he undertook made him a legend in the Marine Corps. His fame as a sniper and his dedication to long distance shooting led him to become a major developer of the United States Marine Corps Sniper training program. He was honored by having a rifle named after him: a variant of the M21 dubbed the Springfield Armory M25 White Feather.

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