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Omaha Patrolman Larry Minard killed in ambush bombing after 911 call

Larry Minard, Sr. was buried on his 30th birthday
Larry Minard, Sr. was buried on his 30th birthdayNebraskans for Justice

Omaha Two story: Bomb murder

Patrolman Larry Minard, Sr. was killed by ambush bomb
Patrolman Larry Minard, Sr. was killed by ambush bombOfficial photo

On Sunday night, August 17, 1970, a 29 year-old policeman, Larry Minard, Sr. was getting ready for work on the graveyard shift, midnight to 8:a.m, at his home on Seward Street. The father of five young children smiled as he looked at his presents from the kids waiting for his upcoming 30th birthday in three days.

Forty blocks east on Seward, a disturbance was breaking out. It started with name-calling and turned to fighting. Vandalism followed and when police arrived at 11:15 p.m. a crowd of two dozen rushed the cruisers with complaints of broken windows.

The responding officers decided to clear the street and a woman yelled an obscene name. While attempting to arrest the woman, patrolman James Musgrove was kicked in the groin. Another woman kicked Musgrove’s partner, George Dugan, in the groin. A third policeman was hit in the head by the crowd.

While sirens blared on the Near North Side, things where still quiet at the Minard home. After checking his uniform in the mirror and heading for work, Larry’s parting words to his wife Karen were, “Don’t worry about anything Momma.”

Larry liked the “A” shift from midnight untill morning. The officers he worked with all considered themselves the Marines of the police force. Larry had wanted to be a policeman since he was a student at Omaha’s Technical High School.

Larry had tried to be a police officer soon after he left the Navy. He first applied to become a state trooper but his application was a day late so he applied with the Omaha Police Department and his dream came true.

The squad car radio was chattering with traffic when Larry came on duty. Five arrests were made from the melee and everyone was on alert.

At 2:07 a.m. the 911 call center received an anonymous call from a man reporting a woman screaming at a vacant house on Ohio Street. Four squad cars, each carrying two men, converged at 2867 Ohio.

Larry and Dennis Moran, his partner, were patrolling in another district but sped to Ohio Street to serve as back-up. There had been a number of rapes in the area recently and everyone was also on edge from the trouble on Seward street.

After a quick search of the yard, the officers entered the open vacant house stepping over a suitcase in the doorway. After determining no one was in the empty house the officers began their exit.

Larry went over to the suitcase and bent over to examine it.

At 2:11 a.m. a blinding flash and deafening explosion instantly killed Larry Minard, Sr. Larry’s autopsy reported severe trauma to the skull and body.

Back home the squawking of Larry’s police scanner woke Karen and the two oldest children. Carol, 11, and Larry, Jr. 9, were both standing in the doorway when the police cars came with the bad news at about 2:30 a.m.

As an adult, Carol would tell the Omaha World-Herald about being woken up that terrible night by the scanner, “It was going crazy about an officer down. My mom, she just seemed to know.”

The young widow would somberly tell the newspaper the next day she had tried for two years to get Larry to quit police work. Karen Minard said, “A policeman’s wife never knows when he walks out the door whether he will come back alive.” Mrs. Minard also expressed her heartfelt pain, “I just hope what happened wasn’t in vain.”

Karen remembered, “the first time he put on the uniform the look on his face told it all.” The new widow said about Larry’s police work, “This is what he really wanted.”

The newspaper also interviewed Larry’s brother, Terry Minard. Terry remembered, “He wanted the kids to grow up to respect the law.”

Larry’s body lay in the blast rubble until 3:50 a.m. as police scoured the crime scene searching for evidence. But before twenty-four hours would pass, two law enforcement officials would agree to withhold evidence on the identity of Larry’s killer, Assistant Chief of Police Glen W. Gates and Special Agent-in-Charge Paul Young of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Young’s agenda was to “destroy” the leadership of the Black Panthers as ordered by J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director. Hoover had complained that Young was not “imaginative” enough to get the job done under the mandate of COINTELPRO. Hoover’s clandestine counter-intelligence operation against the Black Panthers targeted the group leadership for sometimes lethal attention.

Larry’s tragic death would give Paul Young an opportunity to prove J. Edgar Hoover had been wrong about his lack of imagination.

Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, then David Rice, were leaders of Omaha’s Black Panther affiliate called the National Committee to Combat Fascism. Both men were targets of Paul Young and both were convicted of Larry Minard’s murder and are serving life sentences in the Nebraska State Penitentiary.

Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa continue to deny any involvement in the bomb murder.

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