Advertisement
  1. Archive

Gunman takes 18 hostages, is slain

A gunman carrying a crude bomb took 18 people hostage Saturday at the Salt Lake City Library, then was shot dead by a deputy who had snuck in among the hostages.

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Lloyd Prescott was teaching a class for police officers in a room next to the one where the gunman was guarding the hostages, Lt. Marty Vuyk said.

"He made a super move. He became the last hostage by walking in the room and closing the door behind him," Vuyk said.

Prescott was dressed in sweats. He identified himself as a police officer after the gunman told the hostages to draw lots, apparently to determine the order in which they would be executed, said Salt Lake County Sheriff Aaron Kennard.

The gunman swung his gun on Prescott, and then the deputy shot him four times in the chest and wrestled him to the ground, Kennard said. None of the hostages were hurt.

The gunman, identified as Clifford Lynn Draper, died at LDS Hospital, Vuyk said.

The 5{-hour ordeal began just after a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks had dismantled an intricate sand painting they had created over four days at the library. The monks, who live in exile in India, were to scatter the painting and throw its grains into the nearby Jordan River. They were not taken hostage.

The man leaped onto a table, pulled out a handgun and announced: "Have a nice life. Mine's probably over," witnesses said.

Radio station KSL quoted witnesses as saying the gunman told them he had a bomb "big enough to blow up the whole building."

The man was holding a hair-curling iron with wires leading into a shoulder bag, witness Jan Carlston said. The man held the curling iron open, and said if he closed it the bomb would go off.

The curling iron didn't set off the bomb, which was later detonated in the library by a bomb squad.

During telephone negotiations with police, Vuyk said, Draper demanded money, an audience with Salt Lake City Police Chief Ruben Ortega and a pardon from President Clinton.

Some people managed to escape as the gunman herded the hostages to the room on the library's second floor. Hostage Carl Robinson said Prescott, the deputy, showed up as they were being hered into the room.

Draper gave a sealed letter he wanted mailed to the local Deseret News to a monk who had followed the group to the second floor. The monk, who doesn't speak English, didn't know what to do with the letter and gave it to Robinson.

The gunman let Robinson go free to mail the letter, and let the monk go with him. Robinson then told police that an officer was among the hostages.

At one point, Draper called a local radio station and demanded to be put on the air. The station refused, but placated Draper by playing songs he requested by Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith.

The station also tape-recorded the conversations.

"I want all your classics. This is not good mood music," Draper said on the tape.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement