Interview with Tom Wicker

The next morning, the 13th, the day of the assault, you were in the steward's room with the other observers and it took less than 10 minutes. What were you feeling emotionally and what did you hear going on outside?


We really couldn't, on the last morning of, of when the assault took place on Monday morning, September 13, I was in the steward's room with the o--with the other observers, some had not been let back in and were out in the parking lot but some of us were inside, and we were aware of what was happening. In the first place we were told that the assault was going in. Secondly, we could see the helicopter going over, they even used air power, you know, to drop gas on these poor guys. And some of gas seeped into the room. It makes your eyes tear a little bit and we could see a lot of activity, but in fact we couldn't hear anything. I, I don't think I heard anything that I would have thought was gunfire, pretty sure I didn't. Although there were, as the state police film shows, there were six minutes of indiscriminate gunfire, six minutes of firing into 1500 men in an enclosed space about the size of two football fields who were holding, as I recall it, 20 or 30 hostages. Six minutes of, I repeat indiscriminate gunfire, that I think are as shameful a six minutes as I know of in American history because you're bound to kill people. Indiscriminate gunfire kills indiscriminately. You're bound to kill people and not just inmates who in some twisted way you might think deserve to be killed, but you're going to kill hostages, and they did kill hostages.