Boy Hero Peoria Robbery

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Boy Hero Peoria Robbery - Boy h ero after Peoria terror PEORIA, 111. (AP)...
Boy h ero after Peoria terror PEORIA, 111. (AP) - A 10-year-old. boy was" out playing with his friends Wednesday unconcerned over his role In a: terror-filled drama at a parochial school where more than 40 children were held at gunpoint. ;The school, St. Cecilia, was closed Wednesday and John Ardis spent the unexpected free day playing ball, one of his sisters said. ."In midafternoon Tuesday he had volunteered to be the hostage of one of three gunmen who held 44 children and four adults captive in the basement ; cafeteria of the school. asked for a volunteer to go with him and nobody else cot up so I Just did" said John. The man, Mchrin Burch, ! 25, of Peoria, had tried to use John as a ; shield. Burch, however, was shot and ; killed by police bullets and the two other men surrendered shortly thereafter. J ;"I just really can't believe it all hap- pened," said John. "I did a little crying ; because I was scared. When the guy was j pointing his gun to my head, I was really 0 scared. J ,"I just wanted to get away. I just 1 hoped nothing would happen and ; everybody would get out of this okay." ; Police Chief Roger Latham said It was remarkable that all the children and the ! f pur adults held captive escaped unhurt. ' 'John, one of eight Ardis children, of I whom four attend St. Cecilia, said he ; remembers little of his walk from the cafeteria with Burch outside. ; ;"AU of a sudden I heard a shot. His arm let go and his gun came off my head and I just started running," he said. ;His version differs from Latham's. The police chief said bis men opened fire after John broke loose. J John himself discounted one report ; that he tripped Burch. "I 'don't know where that came from," he said as he J watched filmed news of the ordeal on television. ; John said he and his classmates were working on math problems when the a three men entered the classroom of Sister Anne Dolores Wilson. """"The place was as quiet as could be and all of a sudden the door flew open," said the nun, a teacher for 30 years. "A man with two guns came in and said 'Got against the wall. I have enough explosives here to blow up four blocks.'" The nun said the two other men filed in aner turn, carrying guns and sacks. The 24 pupils in her class left their books open on their desks and joined 20 other children from another class. Both groups were led by the gunmen to the cafeteria, where John ultimately volunteered to go outside with Burch. The other two men were identified as Robert Funches and Eddie Blake. Police said the men had robbed a downtown .sporting goods store of a dozen rifles and some pistols. Latham said he did not know why the men entered the school, about three miles from the sporting goods store. He said at the time police were not in hot pursuit of them. Latham also said that a 15-year-old girl and another man were allegedly Involved in the robbery but left the school before Burch was shot. Charges, he said, were pending against the four. John is the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Ardis Jr. His father was a city councilman who attended his last meeting Tuesday night, after falling to be re-elected. The father said he heard news of the siege on the radio at a dry cleaning shop he operates, and rushed to the school where he witnessed the drama. "The full Impact didn't even hit me until I got home," he said, "and then I just started shaking. I've got a lot to be thankful for. That's all I know and feel. I've got a lot to be thankful for." 3 r VfOPEN DAILY lO-ISUNDAYTO CONSUMER (NFORMAT10NWEEK j t "TTvfflV"i GET THE lXf(i' JkWa WHILE mews Come in featuring the and rear gearing of 36-93. handlebars. ALL worn

Clipped from
  1. The Pantagraph,
  2. 03 May 1973, Thu,
  3. Page 19

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  • Boy Hero Peoria Robbery

    jamysteid – 31 Jan 2015

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