Melvin Burch, Eddie “Duke” Blake, and Robert Funches held the teachers and students at St.Cecilia School hostage for a terrifying afternoon in 1973.
Police attempted to enter the building but encountered “gunfire erupt(ing) from three sides of the building”. Police Captain Gall Owens and a teacher, Terry Fox, tried to broker negotiations with the gunmen, but were unsuccessful.
After their failed efforts, the gunmen requested to speak directly with Juliette Whittaker and she obliged, walking alone into the crossfire.
The gunmen ended the stand-off shortly after speaking with Whittaker. No civilians or hostages were harmed, but one of the gunmen, Melvin Burch, was shot dead by the police, allegedly after repeating three times “I’ve come to die, kill me, kill me.”
The motives for the hostage-taking remained unclear.