The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, October 13, 1980, Image 6
Page 6 THE BATTALION
MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 1960
Racial tension in Oklahoma Oil tanker burns in Cull C
United Press International
IDABEL, Okla. — A black man was shot to
death and his companion and a white police offic
er were wounded Sunday in a gunfight sparked by
accusations of arson in a city torn earher this year
by racial tensions, officers said.
The Highway Patrol said Idabel Police Chief
Hobby Denison requested stepped-up assistance
from state troopers, although the city of 7,000
nestled in the wooded hills of southeastern Okla
homa was reported quiet several hours after the
Gunfire erupted when three white police offic
ers attempted to arrest two black men who had
exchanged shots with another black man during
an argument over the burning of a building.
One of the black men, identified as Billy
Richards, 28, of Idabel, died in a Texarkana, Ark.,
hospital about four hours after the shootings.
Richards’ companion, Willie Warhop, 26, also
was hospitalized in Texarkana and was described
as stable after undergoing surgery.
Officer Roy Choate, about 55, was admitted to
McCurtain County Memorial Hospital in Idabel
for observation and was listed in good condition.
Choate’s wound was less serious because he wore
a protective vest, officials said.
Police officials who asked not to be named said
several anonymous phone calls threatening the
lives of the officers involved in the shooting had
been received at the police station.
The officers spent most of the day being ques
tioned by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigating
agent Steve Smith, who said several more agents
were en route to the town.
Other high-ranking police officials said officers
from the Highway Patrol and local police force
were avoiding “colored town,” in hopes of avoid
ing racial confrontation.
“We’re staying out of there,” one official said.
“If they see me and four or five other officers, it’s
just going to cause more trouble.”
Police said any racial confrontatin would mostly
likely occur after sunset. Dozens of officers from
three law enforcement agencies were on standby
alert from 5 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. today.
Near the scene of the shooting, residents of the
predominately black area spent a normal Sunday.
Some were talking with neighbors, young men
played basketball and children rode their bicy
Religious music could be heard coming from a
church next door to the restaurant.
A Highway Patrol spokesman said Warhop
owned a disco that burned last week and he and
Richards went to General Lee’s Bar-B-Q on
Idabel’s predominantly black west side and ac
cused the establishment’s owner. General Lee
Diamond, 50, of burning Warhop’s disco.
The three men exchanged several shots, police
were called and Choate and two other officers
responded, the patrol said.
“Warhop and Richards were advised they were
under arrest and a gun battle occurred,” the
Names of the other two officers involved were
not released. It was not determined who fired the
shots that killed Richards and wounded Warhop
Mayor Rex Helms later issued a statement that
15 shots were fired. He said Warhop fired three
shots at Choate, Choate fired three shots at
Warhop, Richards fired three shots at another
officer who fired once at him, and the third officer
fired five shots at Warhop and Richards.
Helms said Warhop was struck by four bullets,
Richards by two and Choate by one.
Helms said the gunfight involving the officers
began as Choate followed Warhop out of the res
“Warhop pulled a .357 Magnum pistol and
fired pointblank into the chest of the officer be
hind him,” Helms said. “The wounded officer
pulled his revolver and returned fire.”
He said Richards pulled a pistol after the initial
United Press International
NEW ORLEANS — A oil tanker
carrying a crew of 32 and an esti
mated 14.4 million gallons of crude
oil caught fire Sunday and burned for
several hours in the Gulf of Mexico
off the Louisiana coast, the Coast
The fire, which started in the en
gine room of the 761-foot M.T. Sea
Royal, apparently was quickly con
trolled or extinguished, Coast Guard
spokesman Doug Bandos said.
_ a broken glass
door at a store in west Idabel, attempted to inves
tigate and were fired upon as they and the owner
approached the front of the store. He said the
owner and officers left, returned later and found
that a shotgun, a .38-caliber revolver and several
boxes of ammunition had been taken.
The crew remained aboard. Coast
Guard planes flew to assist the tank
er, which was “dead in the water”
about 200 miles due south of New
The ship had been en route to Gal
veston, Texas, with a cargo of heavy
Bunker C grade oil, Bandos said.
A 438-foot tanker, the M.V.
Espoir, was diverted to the Sea
Royal and three Coast Guard cutters
were also dispatched. A Coast Guard
C-131 from Florida circled the
Bandos said the fire was reported
about noon (CDT) and the Coast
Guard lost communications with the
ship. But about 3:45 p.m., the Coast
Guard Rescue Coordination Center
in New Orleans received word that
the fire appeared out.
“They haven’t entered the engine
room yet, but they believe the fire is
out,” said Bandos. “They’re going to
wait a little before they go in there.
“They won’t know for sure until
our cutter the Steadfast gets on
Bandos said the engine room was
sealed to cut off oxygen for the fire
and filled with carbon dioxide, a fire
In another mishap in theCs;
crew members from then
submersible oil rig Ocean!
escaped in survival capsule!;
Saturday after a fire broke outt
engine room. That fire wasi
quickly controlled without inja
The Ocean King was locateds
50 miles southeast of Corpus C!p,
Bandos said the Sea Royalm
lieved carrying 57,000 tons ol
roughly the equivalent of U<
ate a s
Tankers that are full are safe;:
partially full or empty tanken
cause the danger of explosion is 5
nished due to a lack of oxygens,
Helms said he did not know whether there was
any connection between the shootings and the
“Due to the fact that the Idabel police officers
were involved, the Oklahoma State Bureau of
Investigation was requested to assume full control
of the investigation of the shooting incident,”
The Highway Patrol sent five officers to Idabel
to remain on call.
Sick man unaware of illness
United Press International
LOS ANGELES — Richard Hu
ber is somewhere on Skid Row, no
different from the thousands that fre
quent the missions and street cor
ners, except this transient has a rare
blood disease that could kill him in
two weeks and he doesn’t know it.
Doctors and administrators at the
downtown White Memorial Medical
Center put out an urgent appeal
Saturday for help in finding Huber,
33, a “fit-looking” white male who
walked into the emergency room last
Sunday complaining of fever.
Huber was examined and released
TIME TO PREMRE.
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on the promise that he leturair
in a few days for the test resik
Hospital spokesman Tom Ek
said Huber, originally fromS
Carohna, is suffering from sub
bacterial endocarditis, a bklO(i ,
ease that attacks the heart wkt
“This disease is often fatal ifu
ated, ” said Dr. Brian Johnston
medical center. “If this man if
get medical treatment, he c«
dead within two weeks."
When doctors realized then
condition two days after
emergency room visit, Elstroii
a telegram was sent to the hole!:
her listed as his address, but if
checked out without leaving t
“We got a call Friday
Union Rescue Mission s&mgtk
had been staying there hut 1
gone,” Elstrom said. “TW|
sent people out on the streetkt
A record of a California in
license listed a San Fraud
“We contacted the police bull
just suggested we contact:
media,” Elstrom said. “Theywef
very much help.”
Huber was described as ah:-,
foot-1, weighing approximate!)
pounds, with prematurely thiiu
brown hair. At the hospital, be
wearing a plaid shirt and blue do
jacket and jeans,
ON THE NEEDS OF
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If you would like to get in touch with us directly, contact Gregg T.
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