When a Gunman Went on a Killing Spree...And They Called in the Marines!

On New Year's Eve 1972, Mark James Robert Essex parked his car a block from the New Orleans Police Department. Hidding in a parking lot across the street, Essex randomly targeted two officers as they retuned to the police station. Using a 44-caliber semi-automatic carbine, Essex fired, wounding Lt. Horace Perez, and killing Cadet Alfred Harrell, 19 years of age.
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Essex jumped a chain link fence and began running. Breaking into a nearby manufacturing plant, Essex sounded an alarm that alerted police to a break-in. A dog unit with Officers Edwin Hosli Sr. and Harold Blappert responded to the call, but when Officer Hosli went to get his German shepherd out of the back seat of the car, Essex shot him in the back. Then proceeding to shoot at the police car, shattering the windshield and wounding Officer Blappert.
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Managing to crawl across the front seat to the radio, Blappert called for back-up while trying to pull his partner back inside the car. When back-up arrived, they sent two dogs into the building to search for Essex, but Essex managed to escape again. Officer Hosli later succumbed to his injuries.
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On the morning of January 7th, 1973; Essex shot a local grocer in a New Orleans neighbourhood, then carjacked a vehicle, driving to the downtown Howard Johnsons Hotel. Essex pulled into the hotel parking garage, and entered the hotel via the stairwell, and began to climb. Only to find the fire doors locked on floor after floor, Essex finally gained entry from a fire stairwell on the 18th floor, the top floor of the building.
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There, in the hallway, he found Dr. Robert Steagall and his wife Betty on their honeymoon. Essex shot them both, then soaked telephone books with lighter fluid and set them ablaze in their room. On the 11th floor, Essex continued on his rampage, shotting his way into several rooms, while setting more fires. It was on the 18th floor, that he shot and killed Frank Schneider, the hotel's assistant manager, and Walter Collins, the hotel's general manager.
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Both the police and fire departments arrived, and immediately, two officers attempted to use a fire truck's ladder to enter the building, but were shot at by Essex. A few moments later, Essex shot and killed NOPD Officers Phillip Coleman and Paul Persigo from his hotel perch on the 18th floor. Eighth District NOPD officer, Ken Solis, was shot in the shoulder. Both police, firemen, as well as bystanders scattered to take cover. While trying to rescue trapped officers, Deputy Superintendent Louis Sirgo was fatally shot, as Essex targeted anything that moved in the streets below.
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As the horror unfolded, Lt. General Chuck Pitman of the United States Marine Corps was watching it all on a local live television broadcast. Lt. Pitman decided to offer local authorities a little assistance, and the local authorities accepted.
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A USMC CH-46 Assault Transport Sea Knight helicopter was swiftly prepared for flight, and was loaded with Marines, then dispatched directly to the hotel. By this time, Essex had retreated up to the rooftop where he and police continued their gunfire exchange.
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When the USMC helicopter arrived, they immediately entered the exchange, along with the police from the streets below. Managing to elude all, Essex found cover in a concrete cubicle on the southeast side of the roof. Essex stepped out once again in the open to fire again on the helicopter, hitting the helicopter's transmission.
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It was a that moment that the Marines on board unload everything they had, raining bullets upon Essex’s position. Police sharpshooters on the roofs of adjacent buildings seized the moment as well, and seconds later, under a massive hail of gunfire, it was all over.
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"Guys were screaming, 'Yeah, now we got you. Die, you goddamn bastard, die!' You could feel the release ... after all those cops had been killed."—Detective Gus Krinkle
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As the police lowered their guns, and the Marines helicopter turned for home, the smoke cleared, and Mark James Robert Essex was found to have been hit over 200 times.
The End
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1 comment


  • Taco bell

    Actually the guys in the back were New Orleans police officers not Marines. It was just LtGen Pitman, his copilot and crew Chief. The Marine Corps wanted to hang him for this But was told if they harmed one hair on this heroes head by the head of the Senate arm forces committee… he would ensure that the Marine Corps never saw another dime and he would give all the Navy Marine Corps‘s money to the Army and Air Force. At least that is the way Gen Pitman tells it to me.
    Semper Fi Taco


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