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Kent, Ohio, May 4 — Four students at Kent State University, two of them women, were shot to death this afternoon by a volley of National Guard gunfire. At least 8 other students were wounded. The burst of gunfire came about 20 minutes after the guardsmen broke up a noon rally on the Commons, a grassy campus gathering spot, by lobbing tear gas at a crowd of about 1,000 young people. This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy.
It is my hope that this tragic and unfortunate incident will strengthen the determination of all the nation’s campuses, administrators, faculty and students alike to stand firmly for the right which exists in this country of peaceful dissent and just as strong against the resort to violence as a means of such expression. In Columbus, Sylvester Del Corso, Adjutant General of the Ohio National Guard, said in a statement that the guardsmen had been forced to shoot after a sniper opened fire against the troops from a nearby rooftop and the crowd began to move to encircle the guardsmen. Wenger, the Assistant Adjutant General, said the troops had opened fire after they were shot at by a sniper. They were understanding orders to take cover and return any fire,” he said.
This reporter, who was with the group of students, did not see any indication of sniper fire, nor was the sound of any gunfire audible before the Guard volley. Students, conceding that rocks had been thrown, heatedly denied that there was any sniper. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to aid in looking into the campus violence. A Justice Department spokesman said no decision had been made to investigate.
At 2:10 this afternoon, after the shootings, the university president, Robert I. White, ordered the university closed for an indefinite time, and officials were making plans to evacuate the dormitories and bus out-of-state students to nearby cities. Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 20, of 22 Diamond Drive, Plainsview, L. Schroeder, 19, of Lorain, Ohio. Three were reported in critical condition and three in fair condition. Two others with superficial wounds were treated and released. Students here, angered by the expansion of the war into Cambodia, have held demonstrations for the last three nights.