Friday, September 7, 2012

James - Younger Gang Attempt the Great NorthField, Minnesota Raid (1876) & Rapper Tupac Shakur is Shot (1996)

On this date in 1876, while attempting a bold daytime robbery of the Northfield Minnesota bank, the James-Younger gang suddenly finds itself surrounded by angry townspeople and is nearly wiped out.
The bandits began with a diversion: five of the men galloped through the center of town, hollering and shooting their pistols in the air. As the townspeople ran for cover, three other men wearing wide-brimmed hats and long dusters took advantage of the distraction to walk unnoticed into the First National Bank. Brandishing pistols, one of the men ordered the bank cashier to open the bank safe. Though the cashier recognized the famous face of the dangerous outlaw, Jesse James, he stalled, claiming that the safe had a time lock and could not be opened. As Jesse James considered his next move, a brave--or foolish--bank teller made a break for the back door. One of the robbers fired twice, hitting the teller in the shoulder, but the man managed to stumble to safety and sound the alarm. The citizens of Northfield ran to surround the bank and mercilessly shot down the robbers as they tried to escape. A 19-year-old medical student killed one gang member, Clell Miller, while the owner of the Northfield hardware store mortally wounded Bill Chadwell, peppering his body with bullets from a rapid-firing Remington repeater rifle. Jesse's brother, Frank, was hit in the leg, while their criminal partners--Jim, Cole, and Bob Younger--were also badly wounded. Jesse was the last one out of the bank. After pausing briefly to shoot the uncooperative cashier in the head, Jesse leapt onto his horse and joined the rest of the survivors as they desperately fled town. For the next two weeks a posse pursued them relentlessly, eventually killing or capturing four more of the gang members. Luckily for Frank and Jesse James, the two brothers had decided to go their own way, escaping to Dakota Territory. After things had cooled down, they went to Nashville, Tennessee, where they started rebuilding their gang and planning new robberies. 

On this date in 1996, actor and hip-hop recording artist Tupac Shakur is shot in Las Vegas, Nevada, after attending a boxing match.

Shakur was riding in a black BMW with Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight when a white Cadillac sedan pulled alongside and fired into Shakur's car. Knight was only grazed in the head, but Shakur was hit several times. He died in a hospital several days later. Although Shakur's killer was never identified, some believe Orlando Anderson, a member of the Los Angeles gang Southside Crips, was responsible. Earlier in the evening, prior to the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon heavyweight fight, Anderson had been attacked in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel by a group from Death Row Records, including Suge Knight. Suspecting revenge as a motive, Shakur's mother filed suit against Anderson for her son's death; but the case was never resolved because Anderson was shot to death in May 1998 in a shoot-out outside a Los Angeles car wash.Shakur had been involved in a string of violent encounters before the shooting in Las Vegas. In 1993, he was convicted of assault and battery after an attack on a music video producer. That same year, a limousine driver claimed that Shakur had severely beaten him. In 1995, while on trial for sexually abusing a young woman in a hotel room, Shakur was shot five times during an alleged robbery attempt at a New York recording studio. He was later convicted of sexual assault. In 1996, he was sent to prison for violating probation and for failure to complete his mandated community service. Before his death, Shakur was also the defendant in a couple of civil lawsuits. When Ronald Ray Howard shot a Texas state trooper to death after listening to Shakur's songs in 1993, the trooper's widow filed suit against Shakur for manufacturing and distributing music that allegedly incited "imminent lawless action." In October 1994, two 17-year-old kids in Milwaukee killed a police officer in a sniper attack after claiming they had been "geeked up" by Shakur's music.

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