Durant (Okla.) Daily Democrat, Sunday, May 28, 1978

Keeping in Step By Bob Peterson

People slept well Friday night - some for the first time in weeks.

Highway patrolmen Pat Grimes, 36; "Pappy" Summers, 62, and Billy Young, 50, gave their lives so we could.

Fear is a funny thing: no one likes to admit he's scared. But there's no telling how many long-unused guns had been dug out of closets and dresser drawers since Claude Dennis and Michael Lancaster killed a Denison store clerk 2 weeks ago (it seems like it was months).

Among the other minor miracles since then is that one neighbor didn't accidentally shoot another - or one of the peace officers who spent long nights guarding us while looking for the two killers.

THAT FEAR grew a little each day Dennis and Lancaster were free, prowling the wild, wooded area of northern Lake Texoma.

No one realizes how deep it really ran, especially for those who live in rural areas, any distance at all from neighbors. Many-and with good reason-left their homes at night to stay with friends, or even in Durant motels.

And it all came true for Russell Washington at his place on the banks of the Blue river.

HEADLINES can never tell the whole story.

As word spread of the deaths of the three troopers, the phone at the Durant OHP headquarters began ringing.

For the most part it was just plain people whose hearts had been touched. There was no sympathy for the convicts - just for the three highway patrolmen who didn't want to die.

The Teletype rattled occasionally, too:

Fort Worth sheriff Lon Evans and his deputies "express their heartfelt condolences..."

Col. Allen Rush of the Kansas Highway Patrol: "Please accept our expression of deepest sympathy concerning the tragedy that has occurred in your ranks."

The Monroe, La., police department: "We send our condolences with mixed emotions. A feeling of outrage that this crime was committed against our brother peace officers and deepest sympathy to the families of these deceased officers. Our prayers and thoughts are with you...we also request that you remember us in your prayers."

Police chief Paul Hildreth of Prichard, Ala.: "Would you please convey this department's condolences to the families..."

So it went.

Dispatcher Scott Barnes counted the calls from 38 states before his shift ended.

And he closed his log, "End of a long day."

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