[Editor’s note: Several of the subjects whose names are deleted in this serial are known to the editor. Those notations have been indicated by red type.]
TO: DIRECTOR, FBI (89-4286)
FROM: SAC, SAN FRANCISCO (89-250) (P) (SQ. 10)
00: San Francisco
Enclosed is original letter addressed to Commissioner, Guyana Police Department. Also enclosed is one copy of letter for the Bureau.
Above letter is being directed to the Chief of Police in Guyana as a direct result of meeting in Washington, DC, of Cecil A. Roberts, Assistant Police Commissioner, Criminal Investigation Division, Georgetown, Guyana, with FBI personnel wherein he specifically requested information contained therein.
Included in letter are FBI interviews of eyewitnesses to the Congressman’s assault at Port Kaituma specifically requested by Roberts and have been sanitized and limited to the assault. These interviews are of witnesses that left Guyana immediately following the incident and were not interviewed by his department.
Interviews containing statements directly relating to crimes investigated by his department, i.e. Larry Layton murder trial, and every effort should be made to expedite forwarding of enclosed letter in view of the fact that Larry Layton is scheduled for trial on 2/12/79, and information contained in letter is pertinent to prosecution.
USA [US Attorney], San Francisco, concurs with content and prompt forwarding of enclosed letter.
Armed and dangerous. Suicidal tendencies.
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United States Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
450 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, California 94102
February 6, 1979
Guyana Police Department
Attention: Mr. Cecil A. Roberts
Assistant Police Commissioner
Criminal Investigation Division
RE: LAWRENCE [Laurence] JOHN LAYTON; ET AL;
CONGRESSMAN LEO J. RYAN – VICTIM (deceased);
CONGRESSIONAL ASSASSINATION STATUTE;
FOREIGN POLICE COOPERATION
During conference with Assistant Police Commissioner, Cecil A. Roberts and FBI Personnel at Washington, DC, on January 31, 1979, Mr. Roberts requested the following information to assist in his investigation of the assault and assassination of US Congressman Ryan and the murder of four other individuals at Port Kaituma, Guyana.
Subjects development through FBI interviews of participants in the assault are: Wesley Karl Breidenbach (deceased); Eddie Joe Crenshaw (deceased); Ronnie Dennis (deceased); Stanley Brian Gieg (deceased); Ronald De-Val James (deceased); Ernest [Earnest] Jones (deceased); Robert Edward Kice (deceased); Thomas David Kice (deceased); Larry John Layton (alive); Anthony Simon (deceased); Ronald Talley (deceased); Albert Ardell Touchette (deceased); and Joseph Lafayette Wilson (deceased). Also identified was Don Sly, who assaulted Ryan with a knife at Jonestown, Guyana.
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Concerning the $1000.00 in Ryan’s briefcase, FBI investigation has determined that the $1000.00 was not taken from the briefcase at any time and that the money, actually $1350.00 was returned to Ryan’s Office, San Francisco, California, with the briefcase. FBI, to date, has not been able to locate the tape recorder or tapes that were reported missing from Ryan’s briefcase.
In connection with the three additional weapons seized from Prokes and the Carters at Port Kaituma, FBI investigation has determined the following:
Smith & Wesson
.38 Caliber Special
Serial Number 6OJ953
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) records disclosed that this weapon was last sold to Paulino Parajas Elegadl of [half line deleted]
Smith & Wesson
.38 Caliber Special
Serial Number J298732
ATF records determined that this weapon was last sold to Beverly Maria Livingston, 387 North Oak, Ukiah, California.
Smith & Wesson
.38 Caliber Special
Serial Number 5J4831
ATF records determined that this weapon was last sold to Clarence L. Swinney, Redwood, Valley, California.
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Mr. Roberts also requested the following eyewitness statements from individuals who departed Guyana immediately following the assault and were not available to furnish statements to this office.
[Several lines related to Ryan aide Jackie Speier deleted] Congressman Leo J. Ryan advised that Ryan began formulating plans to visit Jonestown in early Summer, 1978, following West Coast media coverage of defection from People’s Temple (PT) of Debbie Layton Blakey in May, 1978. Ryan interviewed Blakey about conditions in Jonestown in August, 1978 and subsequently was contacted by other relatives of Temple members in Jonestown. Liaison was established by Ryan’s Office with Richard McCoy, US State Department, Washington DC, concerning the trip to Guyana to visit Jonestown. On November 1, 1978, a telegram was sent to Jonestown by Ryan, formally announcing his intention to visit the community.
[Speier] said that a total of 16 concerned parents accompanied the Congressional Party and press representatives to Guyana on November 14, 1978, arriving at Georgetown. All of the group stayed in Georgetown except Beverly Oliver, Steve Katsaris, Jim Cobb, and Carolyn [Carol] Boyd, who stayed in Jonestown. She and Ryan went to Jonestown on Friday, November 17, 1978, and stayed until Saturday, November 18, 1978, taking about 20 declarations from Jonestown residents who desired to leave with the Congressman. [Speier] said on November 18, 1978, a truck containing 28 people, including 16 defectors, left Jonestown for the airstrip, 8 miles away. The driver was Stanley Gieg of Concord, California, who also had driven them from the airstrip to Jonestown the previous day. Among the defectors on the truck was Larry Layton, brother of Debbie Blakey, mentioned above.
The trip to the airfield took more than an hour, due to poor road conditions. Two planes were at the airstrip, a large and a small aircraft. [Speier] was handling departure arrangements, placing defector families in the large airplane and single defectors in the smaller airplane. It was obvious all present could not leave on the two planes, and that a return trip would be necessary. Layton insisted on leaving on the
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first plane to take off. All defectors were checked for weapons before boarding. Layton, wearing a poncho, entered the smaller plane prior to search and was challenged. Layton pulled a pistol and began firing inside the plane, before the gun was wrestled from him by Dale Parks. Layton then fled the area. A few minutes later a tractor with flatbed on the rear, arrived at the airstrip with about 10 men, both white and Negro. The truck began circling the planes as the men on the truck fired upon those not yet on board the two planes. Speier, Ryan and NBC news man Don Harris attempted to hide behind the plane wheel. Both Ryan and Harris were hit by gunfire and killed. Speier played dead but was struck by a bullet in the right forearm and right thigh. The attack lasted a few minutes.
[Speier] and several other wounded stayed near the planes following the assault, and a few others went to a nearby disco bar to await help.
[Line deleted related to former Temple member Jim Cobb] San Francisco, California, of the concerned relatives group advised that he prepared to leave Jonestown in a dump truck on Saturday, November 18, 1978, at approximately 2 PM. The truck was to take the visitors back to Port Kaituma, with various defectors who wanted to leave the compound. At that time, [Cobb] stated that he heard that someone had tried to stab Congressman Ryan and that Attorneys [Charles] Garry and [Mark] Lane subdued the assailant. At that time, everyone got onto the dump truck, including one of the close followers and alleged hitman of Reverend Jim Jones, Larry Layton. Layton evidently told the individuals that he wanted to leave the compound, stating that it was a hellhole. At that time, [Cobb] stated that Dale Parks and Jerry Parks, who were defectors from the compound, said that it was bad, that Layton was a plant and should not be trusted. [Cobb] stated that at hearing this, he told Bob Flick and Tim Reiterman, who were with the news media, to watch Layton. [Cobb] stated that he was very uneasy and things began to drag. When they got to the gate to the compound, he observed Joe Wilson standing by the gate and as the truck arrived Wilson asked everyone to spread out so he could see who was in the truck. [Cobb] related that he was in a hurry to get to the airstrip and he was afraid something was going to happen. He advised that at various times he bumped up against Layton to determine if Layton had a gun, however, he did not believe Layton had one at that time. Parks stated that he heard that Layton had asked Jones if there was anything he could do and Jones put him on the truck. According to [Cobb], when they got to the airstrip at Port Kaituma, Layton wanted to be put on the first plane to leave and was adamant about his desire to leave first.
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When they first got to the airstrip, there was only a small plane which could only carry five passengers. Various individuals of the entourage got on the small plane. The larger plane was now coming in for a landing and was five minutes late. It landed on the strip and parked with one engine running. At this time, [Cobb] stated that he then observed that a tractor pulling a trailer with PT individuals on the trailer had pulled onto the edge of the clearing at the far end of the runway. [Cobb] stated at this point he told Congressman Ryan to hurry up, as he felt fearful that something was about to happen. At this point, Congressman Ryan was searching the individuals getting onto the plane and his aide was taking a list of names for boarding. According to [Cobb], the individuals whom he knew personally and identified as being on the trailer are as follows: Bob Kice; Tom Kice; Joe Wilson; Albert Touchette; Ron James; Eddy Crenshaw; Wesley Breidenbach and Ron Tally.
[Cobb] stated that while the tractor and trailer were a distance away from the airplane, he was able to identify certain individuals as being hitmen for the PT. Because of this, he urged Ryan to hurry operations to depart the airfield. [Cobb] stated that at this time, he noticed that local Guyanese natives were being pushed back into the brush by PT representatives. After seeing this, he tried to warn everyone he felt was in immediate danger. [Cobb] stated he then attempted to help people get on the plane, and at this time, [Cobb] stated he noticed that Greg Robinson was on the far side of the plane near the wheel. [Cobb] stated [name deleted] came around the tail of the aircraft to assist Greg Robinson. The engines of the aircraft were drowning out all other noise on the airfield. [Cobb] stated that he turned around and then observed that the tractor and trailer an approach to approximately 30 feet from the aircraft and at that time he heard the first shots. He immediately observed that Congressman Ryan fell to the ground. It seemed to [Cobb] that people were just hitting the dirt all over the airfield. Don Harris then fell at approximately the same time as Congressman Ryan. [Cobb] stated that he saw some of the guns that the individuals on the trailer were carrying and thought that someone was aiming at him. At this time, [Cobb] related that he then observed another individual
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fall down at this point he sprinted for the jungle which was approximately 50 yards away from the aircraft. Upon arriving at the edge of the clearing, he looked back and observed that Tom Kice shot Don Harris in the head at point-blank range with what appeared to be a shotgun. He stated that he observed Tom Kice, Bob Kice, Joe Wilson, and Albert Touchette shooting the victims in the head at point-blank range. At this point, [Cobb] stated that he dove into the jungle and ran for approximately two hours into the dense jungle and swamp. He then climbed a tree where he stayed until approximately 9:30 AM the next day, when he went back to the airstrip. Upon arriving at the airport, he observed what he hoped to be Guyanese soldiers checking the bodies lying on the airstrip. At that point, he decided that he would take the chance that the individuals he observed were indeed Guyanese soldiers and not followers of the PT, as he was totally exhausted and demoralized from the ordeal. These individuals were determined to be Guyanese soldiers and he was afforded protective custody at that time.
[Half line deleted related to Carol Boyd] San Jose, California, telephone number [deleted], a member of the concerned relatives group advised that after visiting at the Jonestown compound for several hours on November 18, 1978, [Carol Boyd] was informed by Jackie Speiers that some of the Jonestown people wanted to leave with Ryan delegation. They were passing notes stating their desires to members of the delegation. Don Harris, NBC news reporter, was one of the persons who had received a note from one of the people who wanted to escape. As the delegation was preparing to depart Jonestown for Port Kaituma Airport, additional Jonestown residents try to get on, but there was not enough room. Congressman Ryan then decided to remain with the group that was left behind until they could be transported to the airport. The truck pulled out and there was some commotion back in the group where Congressman Ryan was located. Don Harris left the truck and went back to see what the commotion was all about. Someone had tried to kill Ryan at the compound with a knife. The two lawyers, Mark Lane and Charles Garry, took the knife away from the assailant and it was decided at this time that Congressman Ryan should leave with the first group. The first
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group included an individual identified as Larry Layton. Some of the departing Jonestown residents expressed apprehension about Layton’s presence inasmuch as he was an avowed Temple member. He was reportedly very close to Jones and was considered one of his trusted inner circle. When the group arrived at the airport, everyone got off the truck and all the baggage was removed from the truck. At this time, Congressman Ryan met with the news media and explained the commotion that took place inside the compound. A short time thereafter, a small plane arrived for the group. Larry Layton made a concerted effort to get on this plane. Jackie Speiers advised him that he was not one of the first individuals indicating a desire to leave Jonestown and accordingly, he would have to wait for the next plane. Layton then went to Congressman Ryan and apparently convinced him that he (Layton) would be the best source of information regarding the Jonestown group and accordingly, he should be allowed to leave immediately. Congressman Ryan then instructed that Layton be allowed to leave on the first plane. Layton was thereafter observe shaking hands with a group of spectators who had arrived at the airport, prior to boarding the plane. Because of fear of Layton’s true intentions, he had previously been searched prior to his shaking hands with spectators. At that time, no weapon was noted to be in the possession of Layton.
Prior to the first plane departing, a second and larger plane arrived. [2 names deleted] got on this plane. At this time, some of the PT defectors said that members from the temple who were at the airport had guns and were going to kill them. Larry Layton said they had to get the plane off the ground immediately. At this point, shooting started. Someone yelled “hit the dirt”. [2 names deleted] were in the doorway of the second plane and both headed for the rear of the plane and got on the floor. Mrs. Oliver had been hit in the legs. Those who were standing in the doorway were shot by individuals on a tractor and flatbed, which appeared to be circling the plane. After the tractor left, they got off the plane and saw Anthony Katsaris, who was still alive, but who had been shot in the chest. They carried Jackie Speier who had multiple gunshot wounds, away from the plane. They knew that the tires were shot out and the plane received numerous hits in the engine and compartment area. The next thing she remembers is running into the jungle and thereafter, observing the five seater plane taking off with the pilots and some crew members from the larger plane.
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There were three or four Guyanese Army personnel located at the airport, camped out in a tent by a Guyanese Air Force plane which they were guarding. The Guyanese told them what to do relative to hiding out and the military personnel provided three stretchers. While they were rendering first aid to Jackie Speier and Steve Sung, Larry Layton approached the group and he was told to leave by the others. Layton attempted to talk to the group, but they were fearful of him. Some of the group accused him of being involved in the shooting. At this point, after direction of the Guyanese people, the group decided to leave the injured members of Ryan’s group in the tent with the Guyanese Army personnel and the remainder would be taken into Guyanese homes in Port Kaituma. Mr. Dwyer and one of the members from Ryan’s group remained with the injured. When help arrived on the morning of November 19, 1978, [Carol Boyd] was informed of this Mr. Dwyer or someone who had been at the airport. They thereafter went to the Port Kaituma Airport, boarded a Guyanese military aircraft and were flown to Georgetown. On the same date, she departed Georgetown, Guyana on a United States medevac aircraft, which brought her and several of the other members of the group to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.
[Carol Boyd] advised that she did not observe the shootings that took place at Port Kaituma and could not identify from personal knowledge any of the assailants. She explained that when the shooting began, she immediately concealed herself in the rear of the plane and did not exit the plane until after the shooting ceased.
Vernon Dean Gosney, 5076 Bonwell Drive, Concord, California, was a Jonestown resident, wounded at Port Kaituma, Guyana, advised that he had been planning to leave Jonestown two or three weeks prior to Congressman Ryan’s visit, but in fact he was afraid to leave. Gosney indicated that he wanted to leave Jonestown since the first day he arrived there, but knew that if he did try to leave he would be stopped by members of the PT. He noted that one day officials from the United States Embassy came to Jonestown and that he and his friend Monica (last name unknown) (LNU) [Bagby] wanted to tell them they wanted to leave, but he and Monica just did not have the nerve to do it. Gosney stated he felt like it was not hard to do, but he knew that if
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they did something would happen to him and Monica. He noted that there were literally hundreds of people who wanted to leave, but many knew what would or could happen to them if they did leave. No one ever talked about leaving because if they were overheard they would be punished. Punishment many times was beatings, however, Jones eventually stopped the beatings because of public criticism. However, one to be punished would be put in a center surrounded by other members of the PT and everyone would ridicule, criticize, and humiliate that person being punished. Jones always stated that he would kill all of the traitors who left even if he had to hire the Mafia to do this.
He advised that the Congressman and members of the party arrived at the camp on Friday, November 17, 1978. The general feeling at the camp during Ryan’s visit was that of excitement because of Ryan’s notoriety, but the atmosphere was very tense because if one person approached the Congressman or his party and told him how they truly felt against Jones, everything would be “messed up”. Gosney recalled that when Jones talked with Ryan he told Ryan anyone could leave at any time. However, Gosney reiterated that in fact they could not because Jones had seized everyone’s passport. Gosney had no direct knowledge of any plan by Jones or his followers to cause any trouble if anyone wanted to leave. However, Gosney noted at this point that many people of the temple were very suspicious, especially when Jones appeared to be letting those people who wanted to leave, go. What aroused Gosney’s suspicions was the fact that on the group’s way to the airstrip on the day that they were all leaving, the truck appeared to be deliberately stalled and then it appeared to be deliberately stuck in the mud. Following that, Congressman Ryan was attacked by someone back at the camp. His suspicions were also aroused by the fact that Stanley Gieg, the driver of the truck that was transporting everyone from the camp to the airstrip, was driving very slowly and when the truck arrived at the front entrance of the camp, the security guards made everyone in the back of the truck shift around so as to count everyone and note who was on the truck. One of the security guards used the story that he was looking for his sons. Gosney stated that this always happened when visitors came to the camp. The visitors would always have to wait until Jones wanted them to come to the camp and they would also be delayed after they came and wanted to leave the camp. It was very easy to delay visitors because there was only one way in and one way out.
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Gosney, who was on the truck and planning to leave with Ryan, knew that the group was definitely being stalled. Also, when the group left for the airstrip the day of the shooting, an assembly was called by Jones at the temple. This assembly, as in the past, was called so a decision could be made as to what could be done about the traitors and Ryan’s group. Gosney stated it always happened this way. If someone was to leave, there was always an assembly called and a decision would be made about what to do with that person. Usually, if the person left, a group of Jones’ security men would search for that particular person until he was found and bring him back to the camp. When they were returned to the camp, they would be severely punished. Gosney, as he was leaving, knew that an assembly was being called because everyone was gathering at the pavilion.
As they were leaving the Jonestown camp that Saturday afternoon, November 18, 1978, Gosney recalled the following persons being on the truck en route to the airstrip: Vernon Dean Gosney; Monica Bagby; Tommy Bogue; Jimmy Bogue; Edith Bogue; Juanita Bogue; Timmy Bogue; Harold Bogue; Chris O’Neil [O’Neal], and Larry Layton. Everyone knew Larry Layton was a plant as Layton was stuck on the truck at the very last minute. Gosney said, “There was no possible way Layton would be defecting, as he was extremely loyal to Jones”. Also on the truck were: Edith Parks; Patty Parks; Dale Parks; Terry [Jerry] Parks; and Brenda Parks.
Gieg it is described as a white male, about 18 years old, 5’8″ tall, 160 pounds, blonde hair, very muscular and very hairy. When Gosney and the rest of the group, along with Ryan and the others arrived at the airstrip, it was approximately 5:30 PM, as best as he could recall. They unloaded their belongings from the truck and put them in the aluminum shed located near the airstrip. The airplanes were not there at the time of their arrival on the truck. After everyone got off of the truck, Wilson and Gieg departed for a short while.
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By this time the aircraft had arrived in Congressman Ryan’s assistant, Jackie Speier was making a list of people who were to go on either the large or small airplane. She obtained the list but Layton insisted that he wanted to go on the small airplane. Gosney thought that Layton wanted to go on the plane because he felt like Wilson’s job was to shoot up the big one. At this point, Gosney recalled that on the trip to the airstrip, Joe Wilson asked the departing members of the PT why they wanted to leave. Gosney told Wilson that the people did not have any freedom or free will to decide if they wanted to stay or go. Wilson told Gosney that the people could have left at a better time or done it in another way. He said the group of PT members that were leaving would make the PT look bad. Several people were put on the small plane, including Gosney and his friend Monica, who were the first to get on. The engines started, at which time Gosney noticed the tractor and truck return to the area of the two airplanes. Gosney at this point believed that Joe Wilson initially left to go back to get the guns. He stated that Wilson and the others Re: approximately 30 minutes.
Gosney indicated that initially there were three people besides himself that were to get on the small plane for its return to Georgetown, Guyana. The people who initially got on the small plane besides himself were his friend, Monica; [2 names deleted, likely Larry Layton and Dale Parks]. There was a conflict at this time as to whether or not Larry Layton should be getting into the small plane, but since he insisted he did board the aircraft. Once he (Gosney) and the others were on the small plane, then he noticed the larger plane arrived. By this time the tractor and truck came back to the airstrip and passed by the small plane and went directly to the vicinity of the large plane, circling it once. On the tractor Gosney noticed Joe Wilson, who was holding a rifle. Wilson began shooting and “kept shooting at the people, the airplane, the tires of the airplane, and everything”. At that point, Larry Layton shot Gosney twice. Layton was sitting in the smaller aircraft directly beside Gosney and to Gosney’s left. Gosney stated that he was shot with some type of small handgun and immediately following his being shot, he (Gosney) and Dale Parks struggled with Layton and took the gun away from Layton. The pilot told everyone to immediately get out of the airplane, but they could not get the doors of the plane open so they crawled out the front of the aircraft.
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At this point, Gosney stated that he recalled that there were approximately 10 individuals on the tractor. Some of those on the tractor are as follows: Stanley Gieg; Wesley Breidenbach; Tom Kice; and Bob Kice. At this point Gosney advised that only certain people within the camp were authorized to have guns. Those authorized were: Joe Wilson; Bob Kice and his brother Tom Kice; Stanley Gieg; and Wesley Breidenbach. He noted that the above individuals who are doing the shooting stayed on the tractor while the shooting was going on. At least he saw them stay on the tractor and there might have been others who got off of it. After Gosney got out of the small plane, he ran into the bushes and stayed there until a Guyanese person found him and took him into a tent, where he saw [two names deleted], both of whom had been wounded.
[line of type deleted identifying Anthony Katsaris], Chico, California, telephone number [deleted], a member of the concerned group, advised that on November 18, 1978, while preparing to leave Jonestown, he noted two or three members of the PT getting on the truck. He recognized two of them. The two were Wesley Breidenbach and Larry Layton. Layton was the very last one to get on the truck. While they were all on the truck, it did not start moving for quite some time and Vernon Gosney, who was also a member of the PT, who was going to return with the group to the United States, kept insisting that everyone should get going and get out of the camp. All the so-called defectors kept saying, “Let’s get going, let’s get going”. But as soon as the truck began to leave, it stalled and then it got stuck in a ditch. The defecting PT members told him that this thing about the truck stalling and getting in the ditch was a set up. As they reached the top of the hill near the camp, [Katsaris] looked back and saw people running around and heard people yelling. [Katsaris] do not know what was happening. The truck stopped and Don Harris, the NBC News Reporter, went to see what had happened. Soon afterwards, a bulldozer came and pulled the truck out of the ditch. At this point, [Katsaris] felt as if they were deliberately being delayed.
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[Katsaris] backed up for just a minute and stated that when Don Harris came back to the truck, Harris told them that someone had tried to assassinate the Congressman, but the PT members saved him. He stated that the person who tried to assassinate the Congressman was a young white man, but [Katsaris] did not know his name. Congressman Ryan walked down the road to the truck and when he arrived at the truck he seemed to be in a state of shock. He then climbed in the cabin of the truck and the truck began moving down the road. When the truck reached the entrance to the camp, the chain was again across the road there was a black male individual at the guard station. He instructed everyone to move around in the back of the truck as he wanted to see if his children were on the truck. This black guard then got on the truck and stayed on the truck and drove to the airstrip with them. At this point, [Katsaris] stated that he started to worry that something might be going to happen.
Finally they reached the airstrip and were left off of the truck and the truck left. The airplanes were not there yet and it now seemed that everything was going wrong. They placed all of their personal belongings in the aluminum shed at the airstrip.
A few minutes later, a small airplane came and then they began loading luggage on it. It was at this time that [Katsaris] noticed the truck which they rode to the airstrip on any tractor pulling a wagon arrived in the area. He only remembered seeing a blonde-haired man on the tractor whom he had seen in Jonestown. He also recalled seeing this young man as a member of the PT group which had met the Congressman and the party when it initially arrived at the airstrip on Friday afternoon, November 17, 1978. The smaller plane was being loaded and some of the so-called defectors so that everyone should be searched, therefore [Katsaris] helped search the people and luggage but did not find any weapons. After they were searched, Larry Layton got into the small plane at which time Jim Cobb stated that Layton was not searched. At this point, Jackie Speier became very nervous. Layton was never searched as it was very hectic and confusing at that time. [Katsaris] stated at this point that he could probably identify Larry Layton if he saw him again.
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[Katsaris] does not remember seeing the tractor come closer to the aircraft. It probably did but he did not notice it. Then all of a sudden he noticed that the tractor and truck were parked parallel to the larger airplane. He heard a gunshot and then another and did not know exactly what was happening. He looked around and thought there was shooting so therefore he ran to the far side of the larger plane and laid down behind it. While lying there [several words deleted] he felt his arm and chest sting and saw that [Beverly Oliver] had received gunshot wounds to her legs. He knew the shooting was coming from the direction of the tractor but did not see anyone in particular doing the shooting. He did not know or see who the individual was that shot him. While the shooting was still going on, Don Harris, one of the newsmen, came over and told them to lie still and to keep very quiet, then Harris ran away from them. [Katsaris] noted that it sounded like the gunshots were being made by rifles. After all the shooting had stopped, [Katsaris] laid there for a while and then he heard three or four more shots. He realized that the shooters were going around checking to see who was dead or alive and he figured he was going to be killed next. Eventually the shooting stopped and there was no more noise whatsoever. He further advised that Jackie Speier stood up first and then [Katsaris] got up, figuring the people that did the shooting were gone. He looked around and did not see the tractor anywhere in sight. He noticed that Jackie Speier climbed into the cargo compartment of the larger airplane. He realized he could not walk so he laid down and waved for someone to come over and help him. At this time the plane engines shut down. He looked around and saw dead people lying all around him.
Some of those that were not hurt or who were wounded and able to walk, opened the door of the airplane and brought Jackie Speier off. Also, Carol Boyd got off the airplane. [Katsaris] said at this point, he kept waving his arms hoping that someone would help him and later on an employee of the American Embassy came over and asked him if he was all right. The embassy employee stated that everyone would be taken care of. With that, some of the other people came over and carried him into the bushes and away from the airplanes. [Katsaris] along with the others, thought the killers would come back to finish everyone off. While he was lying in the bushes, Carol Boyd came over to him and tried comforting him for a while. Then they heard fire engines and Carol ran off. They heard the engines and [Katsaris] rolled deeper into the bushes. After a while, someone else came over to see him and he realized it was Dale Parks.
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[Katsaris] lay on the ground for a while in the bushes and as it was becoming dark, a few Guyanese people came over to him. They took him to where a tent had been set up and when he arrived, he saw Vernon Gosney, who had been wounded, [name deleted] who had been wounded, [name deleted] who had been wounded and also [name deleted] and two Guyanese officials. They stayed at the tent the remainder of the evening while the rest of the non-wounded people went into town and stayed with someone there.
[Line deleted identifying Ron Javers], San Francisco, California, a member of the press, advised that on November 18, 1978, he was leaving Jonestown, en route to Port Kaituma by a PT truck. The truck on which [Javers] and the other media and other individuals were riding proceeded about 100 yards before it became stuck in the mud. He then heard a loud cheer, saw a commotion and people running. About 5 to 10 minutes later, Attorney Lane came up the path to the truck hustling Congressman Ryan with him. Congressman Ryan’s shirt was pulled up to his waist and there was blood on the left side of the shirt, however, it was later learned that it was not the blood of Congressman Ryan.
Congressman Ryan got into the truck and since someone had thrust a knife at him. The truck then traveled to the airport, but the plane on which they were to depart had not yet arrived. Congressman Ryan and the others sat down in a little shed and Congressman Ryan told them what happened to him back at Jonestown. He said a young white male had lunged at him with a knife, that he had fallen back and that Mark Lane, who had been his opponent in this matter, had saved his life, as he had wrestled the knife wielder to the ground. The knife wielder was cut during this attack and it was apparently his blood that was on Congressman Ryan’s shirt.
[Javers] recalled also there before the truck in which he was riding pulled away from Jonestown can drive to the airport, a Negro male got onto the truck and clung to the side of it staring at him. A female temple member inside the truck identify this individual as being Joe Wilson. [Javers] related that Wilson’s wife and child had left Jonestown earlier that date trying to make their way to Port Kaituma. Wilson rode all the way out to the airstrip on this truck with them.
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[Javers] estimated there were possibly 32 people milling around in the area by the airport waiting for the planes to take them away from there. He said the truck on which he and other members of the press and others had traveled to the airport must have returned and brought back a second group of people. Bob Brown of NBC was filming the activities there. [Javers] said they were receiving many hostile looks and that the members of the press gathered together. The two airplanes had landed during this period of time. One plane was a small, single engine plane with a capacity of about 4 to 5 people.
[Javers] was standing by the larger airplane, an Otter. He later learned that a Larry Layton, who was one of the last people to get on the first truck including [Javers] and the media as it pulled away, had gotten onto the small single engine plane. He explained that when Layton got onto their truck that the PT who were riding on the truck and leaving Jonestown, crowded together and away from Layton and said not to let them on, that he was a traitor and would hurt them. As a result, while on the truck, he ([Javers]) started interviewing Larry Layton, who was very nervous. [Javers] said the PT were adamant that Layton should not be permitted to go with them and that they were afraid of him.
At the airport, Congressman Ryan, Dick Dwyer, Deputy Chief of Missions the US Embassy at Guyana and others were frisking people to make sure they did not have firearms before boarding the airplanes. Larry Layton, who he described as pale and “hyper” said he had to get on the first plane, referring to the small plane. Ryan was on one side of the small plane and Layton apparently went to the other side and climbed into the plane.
[Javers] observed what he described as a truck and a tractor with the truck partially concealing the tractor, drive over to the area where they were congregated. This was during the period of time that they were still milling around and frisking people. Subsequently, approximately 3 to 5 males came walking over swiftly from the direction of the truck and tractor and Joe Wilson was one of them. [Javers] was then standing beside the larger airplane preparing to board it. [Javers] then saw several people coming at him armed with rifles. He was
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then standing by the steps leading to the center door of the airplane. Bob Brown, the NBC cameraman, was nearby filming this sequence of events. Firing commenced and [Javers] felt a bullet strike him [several words deleted]. He fell to the ground and moved behind the airplane for protection as did Bob Brown. He was trying to take cover behind the airplane tire and he heard additional shots. He said the shooting possibly lasted five minutes or less. [Javers] who was then flat on the ground, looked behind him. He saw Don Harris of NBC trying to get behind the plane tire for protection. He saw an individual come around the side of the airplane. He saw Bob Brown lying on the ground with his body moving and believed him to still be alive. An unknown individual then came up and placed his rifle by the head of Don Harris and fired, administering what he called the “coup de grace”. Either this same individual or another individual did the same thing to Bob Brown, both of whom were on the ground.
[Javers] who was then possibly 10 to 15 yards away and who had been trying to make up his mind as to whether to play dead or run for it, then decided to run. He got up and ran across the airplane field into a tropical rain forest area. He ran into this dense undergrowth as far as he could. He had a camera bag, which he dropped on the runway and he dropped his Nikon camera in the swampy area as he went into it. [Javers] said he knew that he had been shot [several words deleted] and that he had lost both pairs of his glasses, which he needs in order to see clearly, as his glasses were in his camera bag. He saw a pasture, which he proceeded through, and subsequently, he made his way around the perimeter of the airport. He then saw people and recognized among them Bob Flick and Tim Reiterman, who is quite tall and stands out in a crowd. He went over to them. He said this was possibly 4:30 PM.
He observed that the larger twin engine Otter plane was disabled as the tires had been shot out. The small plane managed to take off and he was told that it had one passenger, a female temple dropout member. He was not certain as to when the small plane took off, but understood it summoned help. He observed Congressman Ryan’s body as well as the bodies of Harris, Brown, Greg Robinson, San Francisco Examiner photographer, and the body of a woman beside the plane [Patty Parks]. He said he could not see who shot Congressman Ryan or even himself.
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[Javers] stated that he believed that the individual who shot Don Harris was a young black male, possibly a teenager or in his 20s and perhaps a little taller than [Javers] and about the same build. [Javers] said he is 5’10” tall and weighs 160 pounds. He said it all happened so fast he cannot be positive that the individual who shot him was a black male, however, he believed him to be.
[Line of type identifying Steve Sung deleted], Pasadena, California, telephone number [deleted], employed by [NBC News], advised that on November 18, 1978, at Jonestown, when the whole contingent was getting ready to depart the compound for the airstrip, approximately 15 other church members suddenly wanted to “defect”. The visiting contingent and the “defectors” were driven to the airstrip where there were two planes waiting. Shortly after the arrival at the airstrip, [Steve Sung] observed a tractor pulling a flatbed truck with canvas over the top. Three men got off the tractor and flatbed, walked toward the reporters and asked which airplane the PT members were leaving on. No one responded to this question and a short time later, these individuals pulled weapons from the flatbed and opened fire on the people standing on the airstrip. [Steve Sung] stated that as he remembers it, the people from the temple who were on or near the tractor when the unprovoked shooting began were one black man named “Stanley” (driver of the tractor); one white male who was approximately 45 years old and appeared to be the leader of this group, and three other Negro males. One woman “defector” was killed as she was about to board one of the airplanes. The engine and tires of one of these airplanes were shot out and, although there were innocent people in the area, the people doing the shooting seemed to confine their shooting to the contingent from the United States. [Steve Sung] was struck in the arm with a bullet and his cameraman was shot in the leg. The cameraman was moaning when one of the temple people walked up to him and shot him in the head, killing him. [Steve Sung] stated that he remained motionless near his cameraman, feigning death, when he was shot again, an apparent attempt to make sure he was dead. [Steve Sung] stayed, laying face down on the airstrip, for approximately one half hour, and he heard an airplane engine start among the noise of people crying. He then ran into the thick brush surrounding the airstrip and banded together with others, including a State Department official who had fled. [Steve Sung] stay overnight in a tent with three other injured individuals in the next morning, Sunday, November 19, 1978, approximately 40 Guyanese soldiers arrived and secured the area so the group could eventually be evacuated.
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[Line of type deleted identifying Bob Flick], California, employed by [NBC News], advised that on November 18, 1978, in Jonestown, he boarded a truck to return to Port Kaituma airstrip. Just prior to leaving, Congressman Ryan returned to the pavilion which was approximately 500 yards from the truck where I was sitting. I could hear a scuffle but did not witness any of the happenings. Congressman Ryan came from the compound with blood on his shirt and a shaken condition. He climbed into the truck and at this same time, a white male described as approximately 5’6″ tall, weighing 135 pounds, in his late 20s with a slight build and dirty blonde curly hair, got into the truck. He was wearing a white shirt and white pants which were partially covered by a rain poncho. Later, this man was identified to me as Larry Layton. He stood in the back of the truck I did not speak to anyone.
Congressman Ryan returned and told me that he had been assaulted with a knife. The truck departed for Port Kaituma.
During preparation for flight, Larry Layton had remained off to the side leaning against a building. When the choosing of passengers was made, he demanded to be a member of the passengers for the single engine plane. He advised the Congressman’s aide that he had been promised by Congressman Ryan a seat on this plane. The aide checked with Congressman Ryan and confirmed this. Four other passengers and Larry Layton were put on the plane and the plane taxied to a takeoff position.
Jim Cobb called to my attention, a tractor pulling a metal trailer and the truck in which we had been brought to the airport. I saw the same driver who drove us from the compound driving this truck and a blonde-haired male standing on the trailer, whom I cannot identify. These vehicles stopped approximately 50 yards from my location, i.e., the Otter aircraft. A police vehicle drove to my location and a police officer with a shotgun stood near the twin engine Otter as though he were guarding the plane. I was talking with the pilot of the twin engine Otter when I heard two shots. At that point, I was standing on the ground in front of the aircraft talking to the captain, who was sitting in the captain’s seat. I turned around and saw the left tire had been shot out. The single engine plane was at a 90 degree angle to the runway making preparations for departure.
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After the two shots there was a pause and then there was a barrage of fire which originated from the area of the truck and spread out around the immediate area of the twin engine Otter and into the “bush”. It seemed to me as though the shots were coming from the whole surrounding area of the aircraft. I ran from under the plane approximately 15 yards to a metal shed and laid on the ground for protection. From this location, I can see the assailants shooting at the news party and shooting point blank at the wounded as they lay on the ground.
I got up and ran to the other end of the airfield remembering I had previously seen a damaged aircraft being guarded by a Guyanese soldier who was carrying what I thought to be an automatic weapon. I tried to persuade him to assist us by firing at the assailants; however, when he refused I tried to persuade him to give me the weapon, to no avail. At this location I was approximately 10 to 15 yards from the single engine plane which had come to rest. I heard gunshots from within the plane. The pilot leaped from the plane and shouted for everyone to get out, but no one else exited the plane.
I crossed the runway into the “bush” and ran back towards the twin engine Otter. The assailants climbed onto the trailer and truck and departed. When I got to the twin engine Otter, I found Congressman Ryan lying beside the right front landing gear. It appeared he had been wounded and shot in the head. I found Bob Brown shot in the head lying under the tail of the plane. I found Don Harris lying centership under the plane. I found Greg Robinson lying behind the wheel which had been flattened by gunfire.
[Name deleted] and I helped the wounded to a location approximately 50 yards from the runway into the “bush” for safety. In speaking with the pilot of the Otter, I was informed he had radioed that Congressman Ryan and other people were dead and the severity of the assault.
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Mr. Roberts cooperation and candor at the referenced conference is greatly appreciated and it is hoped that the above information requested by him is helpful in your investigation into this matter.
Very truly yours,
[signed] Charles R. McKinnon
Charles R. McKinnon
Special Agent in Charge