The slaying of Twymon Meyers, which Police Commissioner Donald F. Cawley said yesterday “broke the back” of the Black Liberation Army, came after seven months of dogged pursuit of the 23‐year‐old fugitive by the department’s Major Crime Investigating Unit.
“Three times we traced him to apartments that he moved out of just a day or two earlier,” said Deputy Chief Inspector Harold Schryver, who commands the unit, which, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had attempted to arrest Meyers Wednesday night when he opened fire.
In the exchange of fire that followed, one F.B.I. agent, two city policemen and one bystander were wounded, none seriously.
‘Just Dog Work’
Meyers had been sought for questioning in connection with the shotgun killings of Patrolme Rocco Laurie and Gregory Foster in the East Village on Jan. 27, 1972. He was also wanted for several bank robberies.
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“There was no miracle connected with our finding him—it was just dog work,” Inspector Schryver said in an interview. “We checked out everything. Somebody said they saw him playing basketball in Brooklyn. Somebody else heard he was at a social club. We checked out everything.”
Two days before the shootout, Meyers had been traced to an apartment at 625 Tinton Avenue in the Bronx. It was the seventh apartment he had moved to in seven months. Living with him there was Phyllis Pollard, who was arrested at 125th Street and Seventh Avenue about eight hours before the shootout and was charged with bank robbery.
At that time the Tinton Avenue apartment was under surveillance by detectives and F.B.I. agents.
Commissioner Cawley said yesterday that it was known that Meyers was heavily armed and that a strategy decision had been made not to rush him in the apartment but to capture him on the street if at all possible.
Linked to Assassinations
He said that with Meyers dead, “just about all the principals in the Black Liberation Army are either dead or in custody.” The “army,” described by the police as a loosely knit amalgam of terrorists that arose out of a Black Panther faction, has been linked to the assassinations of at least five police officers and the wounding of a, dozen others.
Its alleged members have been charged with such crimes as bank robbery, kidnapping, assault and escapes from jail, as well as murder and attempted murder.
Shortly after 7 PM., Wednesday, Meyers left his apartment and headed toward a grocery store. He may have been flushed out because Miss Pollard was not there to run errands. He wore a ski cap, obscuring his face, the police said.
A detective approached him and, identifying himself as “police,” raised the cap from the suspect’s face. At that point, Commissioner Cawley reported, Meyers whirled and began firing, first from an automatic pistol and then with a 9‐mm. submachine gun. He was cut down by agents and officers involved in the stake‐out.
Ballistic tests conducted yesterday showed that bullets fired from the 9‐mm weapon match those Used in an ambush last Jan. 25 on a patrol car in Brooklyn in which two officers were wounded.
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In Meyers’ scantly furnished apartment, police officers found books on weaponry and tactics; Black Liberation Army stickers and a copy of “Target Blue,” a book by Rbert. Daley, former deputy police commissioner for public affairs, about the Black Liberation Army and attacks on policemen.
Meyers was the seventh alleged major member of the Black Liberation Army to die in a shootout with police officers. In addition, at least 18 others identified as key figures in the movement have been arrested.
A confidential report by the Police Department’s intelligence unit, perpared several months go, said that at no time were there more than “25 to 30 hard‐core members,” although they had the support of perhaps 75 sympathizers.
“It should be noted,” the report said, “that only about 15 members of the hard‐core group are actually engaged in criminal acts being perpetrated in this city.”
In addition to Meyers, the following persons have been identified by the New York City Police Department as members of the Black Liberation Army who have been slain in shootouts with law enforcement personnel:
Ronald Carter, killed in St. Louis in February, 1972. He had been sought in connection with the ambush killings of Patrolmen Laurie and Foster.
Woody Green, killed last January in a shootout in a Brooklyn bar in which two detectives were wounded. He had also been sought in connection with the Foster‐Laurie shooting.
Frank Fields, shot to death in a gunfight with F.B.I. agents in Tampa, Fla., in January, 1971. He had been wanted for the murder of Samuel Lee Napier, a Blank Panther dissident, and for bank robbery.
Harold Russell, killed in gun duel at a Harlem apartment in April, 1971, in which two detectives were wounded.
Anthony White, killed in the bar with Green. He also had been wounded in the gun battle two years earlier in which Russell was killed.
The following persons have been identified as Black Liberation Army members currently in custody awaiting trial or in prison:
Herman Bell, arrested last Sept. 10 in New Orleans. He was one of five alleged Black Liberation Army members indicted for the ambush killings of Patrolmen Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones on the Lower East Side in May 21, 1971.
Henry Brown, recaptured last Oct. 5 after he escaped from the prison ward at Kings County Hospital a week earlier. He is under indictment for the murder of Patrolmen Foster and Laurie.
Anthony Bottom, charged with the Piagentini and Jones murders. He is also serving a life sentence in California for the attempted murder of a San Francisco policeman.
Joanne D. Chesimard, captured last May 2 after a shootout on New Jersey Turnpike in which a state trooper was killed. She is also under indictment for bank robberies in the Bronx and Queens and for a hand‐grenade attack on a police car.
Victor Cumberbatch arrested last June after allegedly killing Transit Patrolman Sidney Thompson in the waiting room at a Bronx elevated station.
Alberto Estremera, arrested last Feb. 17 on charges of robbing a National City Bank branch in the Bronx of $25,231.
Fred Hilton, arrested last June 6 and charged with the shooting of two off‐duty Housing Police detectives, Philip Stubbs and Leroy. Ruffin, last Jan. 12. The detectives were wounded.
Andrew Jackson, seized in a West Side apartment here last June 30th in connection with the Foster‐Laurie murders and charged with bank robberyand the grenade attack on the police car.
Robert Hayes, arrested last Sept. 12 in a raid on a Bronx apartment and charged with Cumberbatch in the murder of Patrolman Thompson.
Melvin Kearny, arrested with Hayes after being sought for questioning in the Laurie‐Foster case.
Thomas McCreary, arrested here on Oct. 30 for a 1971 bank holdup in Miami. He was also convicted of attempted murder of a St. Louis policeman stemming, from the shootout in which Carter was killed.
Pedro Monges, arrested last February and charged with possession of explosives.
Gabriel and Francisco Torres, brothers who have been under arrest since October, 1972. They are under indictment for the Piagentini‐Jones murders.
Albert Washington, serving a life term in California with Bottom and under indictment here for the Piagentini and Jones killings.
Oscar Lee Washington, arrested with Estremera for bank robbery.
Robert Vickers, arrested in Newark on Aug. 5, 1972, and charged there with assault on a policeman. He is also under indictment for the wounding of two patrolmen in Harlem on April 19, 1971.
Avon White, captured with Kearney and Hayes. He is charged with several counts of bank robbery and kidnapping and was wanted for questioning in connection with the attacks on Patrolmen Laurie and Foster.
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