[Editor’s note: One of the subjects of this serial whose name is deleted is NBC Producer Bob Flick. In addition, much of the information deleted in this portion of the FBI report was revealed in the previous section. The deleted information from the memorandum – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type.]
[This section of Serial 1681 covers page 400-405 of the FBI Report of January 12, 1979.]
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Date of transcription 11/28/78
[name deleted] [Robert Flick], was informed of the identity of interviewing Agents. He furnished a signed statement which is as follows:
November 21, 1978
San Juan, Puerto Rico
“I, [Robert Flick], furnish the following voluntary statement to Special Agents [names deleted] who have identified themselves to me as Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I was born on [date and place deleted]. I reside at [address deleted].
“On November 13, 1978, I accepted an assignment to do a news story for [NBC News] on “Peoples Temple”. I departed [San Francisco, California] at 10:00 PM on United Airlines Flight number 24 destined for New York, New York. In my company were Don Harris, Correspondent; Bob Brown, Cameraman; [deleted information related to Steve Sung, NBC engineer and soundman, and Gordon Lindsay, a freelance news man]. Also on this commercial airline flight were Congressman Ryan and two aides, [Jim] (last name unknown, LNU) [Schollaert] and [Jacky Spiers [Jackie Speier]]. Other media people were [information related to Tim Reiterman, Greg Robinson and Ron Javers] and approximately 22 family members of people residing at the “Peoples Temple” located in Guyana.
“From New York I departed on Pan Am Flight number 227 Trinidad at 3:00 PM, on November 14, 1978, to continue on to the final destination of Georgetown, Guyana. During the next two to three days meetings were held to set up the trip and story concerning the people at Jonestown. After intermediary action by Attorneys Charles Garry and Mark Lane the trip to
“Peoples Temple” was scheduled for Friday, November 17, 1978. I departed in the company of my crew, four members of the family representatives, other members of the media and Congressman Ryan with his aide. Also accompanying was [information deleted related to US Embassy official Richard Dwyer and Guyanese official Neville Annibourne]. We flew from Georgetown to Port Kaituma on a chartered airplane of Guyana Airways and arrived at approximately 3:00 PM, on November 17, 1978. At approximately 4:30 PM I departed in a truck provided by “Peoples Temple” bound for “Peoples Temple”. It was approximately 10 to 15 miles by truck through narrow jungle roads.
“Upon arriving the news party was given a limited opportunity to meet and interview family members who resided there and to conduct limited discussions with Reverend Jones. Reverend Jones explained to me the parameters of my interviews and filming. A band and show were provided for us. During this show a man who was residing at the compound, Vern Gosley [Gosney], gave a note to my correspondent Don Harris. Don immediately gave to me this note which was in block print saying that Vern Gosley needed help and wanted to leave. The note was brought with me to Puerto Rico and I turned it over to [name deleted] in charge of [position deleted] for NBC.
“I was told by Reverend Jones that there was no accommodations for sleeping and we must leave the compound. At approximately 11:00 PM, on November 17, 1978, I left the compound in the company of the media and family members. Mark Lane, Charles Garry, Congressman Ryan and his aide remained at the compound that evening.
“Arrangements were made upon their returning to Port Kaituma on transportation back to the compound at daybreak on Saturday, November 18, 1978. The transportation arrived at approximately
11:00 AM on that date and I returned in the company of the fellow media members and family representatives to “Peoples Temple”. I continued the interviews and filming. I was provided a limited tour of the compound. At approximately 2:00 PM Reverend Jones asked, “Why don’t you leave?” “Get out of here.” The members of the media and family as well as approximately 10 to 12 “defectors” were placed on a flatbed truck for departure. Also Congressman Ryan and his aide prepared to leave.
“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 in 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 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 and did not speak to anyone.
“Congressman Ryan told me personally that when he returned to the “Temple” and was talking to Reverend Jones in an effort to get the release of approximately eight other people residing in the compound, an unidentified man grabbed him from behind and put the point of a knife to his throat. The Congressman advised he grabbed the assailant’s arm and managed to slide partially to the side of the assailant, at which time someone in the group came to his assistance and wrestled the assailant to the ground. Congressman Ryan stated when he turned around, the assailant was lying on the floor and had been stabbed by the same knife. Congressman Ryan advised that present during this assault and witnesses to this assault were Attorneys
Charles Garry and Mark Lane. The truck departed the compound and returned to the airfield at Port Kaituma. I arrived at Port Kaituma between 3:00 and 3:30 PM.
“Previous arrangements have been made for air transportation at 2:30 PM, but there were no airplanes at the airport when I arrived.
“My film crew conducted an interview with Congressman Ryan at a metal shed adjacent to the airfield. At approximately 3:45 PM a twin engine Otter and a single engine airplane arrived. As there were only approximately 25 seats available and some 30 people to depart, I decided to remain with my crew until one of the planes returned.
“During this preparation for flight Larry Layton have 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. There were other men 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.
“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 into 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.
“[Jim Cobb] 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.
“After dark I assisted in taking the wounded to the Guyana army tent, adjacent to the wrecked airplane. The remainder of the victims went to a shelter in the nearby town.
“Approximately 14 hours passed when approximately 130 Guyanese troops arrived by railroad. Protection was set up at the airport for incoming airplanes and preparations made for evacuation.
“I returned to Georgetown on a Guyanese Government airplane. After approximately one hour in Georgetown I was transported to Puerto Rico on a chartered jet.
“I have read the above statement, consisting of this and additional pages. I have initialed each page and now sign it because it is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
/s/ [name deleted], Special Agent, FBI, San Juan, P.R. 11/21/78
/s/ [name deleted], Special Agent, FBI, San Juan, P.R. 11/21/78”