It would have been a scene out of a Mack Sennett Keystone Kop Komedy if it hadn’t had its tragic overtones.
It was of course, the Great Aberdeen Street Shootout, and before it was over Raymond Maxwell Bradley faced 12 charges in court ranging from attempted murder (of two police constables- Roy Funk and Clayton Stobbs) to three charges of stealing police revolvers- from policemen.
One thing the Great Aberdeen Street Shootout did prove was the need for police training in at least two fields – (1) procedure to follow in hostage situations, and (2) SWAT team operations.
It all began when police responded to a call at the Savings Centre Grocery, 391 Aberdeen Street, to investigate a break and enter in the early hours of the morning on July 26, 1969.
| || || || |
|Entrance of Aberdeen Savings Centre Grocery scene of shootout||Culprits car with safe in back|
Constable Flinn was the first officer to arrive on the scene. He was confronted by Raymond Bradley and Victor Roeder, a local resident, who were armed with a shotgun and .22 rifle. Flinn was forced to surrender his handgun and was taken hostage by the two gunmen. As back-up police officers arrived on the scene they too surrendered their guns and became hostages.
It has to be appreciated this took place prior to any training being implemented in hostage-taking incidents and before the establishment of specially-trained tactical teams. Five police officers were taken hostage as well as six civilians, who inadvertently walked into the situation. Two teenagers, Grant Fox, 17, and Pat Henry, 18, were driving down the street when they saw the police cars. Realizing there was trouble the driver slammed on the brakes but before he could put it in reverse they were confronted by a man with a gun who demanded they get out of the car. The other civilians became involved in a similar manner and were ordered from their cars by a man with a shotgun and pistol. They were told by the gunmen they would not be hurt, that they just wanted to shoot some policemen and get even with the police for kicking them around. During this little chit chat, a gun was pointed at Grant Fox’s abdomen and another at his head and they demanded a cigarette.
A few minutes later, as Raymond Bradley was hollering, “shoot the screw, you can’t hang for it”, Victor Roeder held the barrel of a handgun to the neck of Constable Funk and while shouting, “I am scared”, pulled the trigger. The bullet traveled up through Cst. Funk’s mouth and exited out the right side of his jaw and blowing the cap off Cst. Flinn’s head. As he crumbled to the pavement, Cst. Funk heard Roeder shouting, “I didn’t hit him.”
|Cst Flinn points out bullet hole in his cap to Cst Groft|
Chief Drader, who lived within a half block of the scene was aroused by a phone call. On arrival at the scene, he attempted to secure the release of other hostages by offering to be a hostage for their escape. (Editor’s note: Modern procedure would not allow this. You never give up your weapon nor do you exchange one hostage for another). His offer was refused and he joined the others at gunpoint. He tried to convince Bradley and Roeder to release Cst. Funk to paramedics as he was in excruciating pain. His plea was to no avail.
| || || || |
|Sgt Lloyd indicating shotgun slugs and |
bullet holes in the side of the culprits car
|Sgt/Det Brink points to one of many bullet holes in police car|
At about this moment, Sgt. McLeod arrived on the scene, parked his car at the intersection and commenced moving towards the large group when on an order from Bradley, Roeder started running toward McLeod, firing with two handguns. As he ran across the intersection, Sgt. McLeod returned the fire. At this time, Cst. Onslow arrived, followed by Sgt. Brink. Roeder stopped behind a small tree and was attempting to take careful aim at Sgt. McLeod. Cst. Onslow, in possession of a shotgun, fired twice at Roeder, one shot hitting him in the upper chest, killing him instantly. An autopsy later proved that Sgt. McLeod’s Bullets had struck Roeder three times. One grazed his head, one hit him in the upper thigh and one struck a finger on the right hand.
|Victor Roeder fatally shot in running gun battle with police|
Chief Drader managed to talk Bradley into releasing the other hostages in exchange for himself as hostage and driver of a getaway car.
Leaving the scene in a police car, Chief Drader accompanied Bradley to the flats area where they picked up Bradley’s wife, Janet and his father-in-law.
After a period of about twenty minutes the four drove back to the scene, Bradley wanting to learn about Roeder’s welfare. At the scene the Chief managed to escape, using the father-in law as a ruse. They both ran, leaving Bradley abandoned in the police car with his wife.
Chief Drader had taken the keys from the car when he made his dash to escape. Bradley, finding himself surrounded by police with no avenue of escape, surrendered when promised he would be protected from harm while in custody.
The original charges were withdrawn and on February 9, 1970, Bradley entered guilty pleas to Robbery with Violence and Cause Bodily Harm with Intent to Wound. He was sentenced to 4 ½ years, concurrent on each charge. He was paroled August 6, 1971. Seventeen years later there is no record of him appearing before the courts again.