War is declared on Detroit - July 1967

In the span of just a few hours, Detroit went from a city waiting to explode to a war zone as the national guard and then U.S. Army were called to the streets of Detroit to end the violence.

By noon on July 23, fires were spreading to multiple businesses as Michigan State Troopers arrived to try and help. They were drastically outnumbered by the rioters and 12th street would soon be given up for lost as the crowd turned to Linwood, Dexter and Grand River.

It was almost 4:30 - only 12 hours after the arrest - and the mayor had called on Governor George Romney to send in the National Guard. The first Guardsnman arrived an hour later but the rest were still in a staging area. It was just before 7 p.m. when Gov. Romney gave the okay for the National Guard to take the streets.

"As Governor of the State of Michigan I do hereby officially recommend the immediate deployment of federal troops into Michigan to assist state and local authorities in reestablishing law in Detroit," Romney said.

A little more than 12 hours after the arrests at the blind pig, the first sniper shots are reported. On the side streets off 12th Street there was sniper fire through the nights. The fire department was harrassed as they tried to fight fires in the area.

At 9:07 p.m., police reported the first sniper fire. 30 minutes later, firefighters were shot at by snipers and the riot continued to spread.

On July 24, Detroit's 266th birthday, a white store owner shot and killed a white a looter. This is the first fatality of the 43 killed through the rights.

Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh and Romney ask for federal troops from Washington at 3 a.m. They renewed the request at 9 a.m. and by noon, President Lyndon Johnson gave the authorization.

They landed at Selfriedge at 3:50 but were told to wait as Johnson was hoping the riots would subisde.

On July 25, just after midnight, snipers shot more and more at unsuspecting targets. One of those killed by sniper fire was Detroit firefighter Carl Smith.

The U.S. Army was finally deployed at 1:10 a.m., almost 12 hours after they landed. 

At 3:30 a.m., Detroit Police Officer Jerome Olshove was shot and killed by a looter.

Embeded among the police and citizens not rioting was TV 2 reporter Jack McCarthy. As the army found a sniper, all hell broke loose:

"We're pulling up now to 14th and Davison, they've got a search light up on the 3rd floor of a brick building on the south side of Davison. The tanks are both pulled up and stopped and they've got their machine guns pointed that way. [steady barrage of gunfire and troops running] This is war!"

As day broke, McCarthy and the Detroit TV 2 viewers got a better look at the damage that was done.

"That was at 3 o'clock in the morning... it's 7:30 now and somehow it's a completely different scene. It's not a sinister looking building anymore. It's an apartment house. An apartment house where a lot of innocent people were living."

McCarthy talked with one of those innocent families who were subjected to the hundreds of rounds. Watch the interview in the story above.

Somehow, nobody was injured in the shooting.

Information via Detroit's Great Rebellion

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