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Flashback: Black Sniper killed 5 cops, 4 civilians in 1973

In 1973, Black Panther affiliate Mark Essex killed 9 people in two different sniper incidents. Five of the people killed were police officers. The rest were random white people. Several other people were injured.

He was eventually shot by USMC snipers.


Mark Essex’s campaign of terror against the New Orleans police climaxed on Jan. 7 in an 11-hour rampage at the Howard Johnson’s hotel on Loyola Avenue, where he killed seven people, including three police officers, and wounded eight.

A week earlier, he had killed two other police officers and wounded one.

Mark James Robert Essex was born in Emporia, Kansas. Kicked out of the Navy after two years with a general discharge for unsuitability for “character and behavior disorders,” the 23-year-old took up radical Black Panther politics and developed an intense hatred for the police. He came to the city to meet up with a friend who shared his politics.

In front of room 1829, Essex shot to death Dr. Robert Steagall and his wife Betty Steagall. He soaked telephone books with lighter fluid and set them ablaze under the curtains of the Steagalls’ room. On the 11th floor, Essex shot his way into rooms and set more fires. He killed Frank Schneider, the hotel’s assistant manager, and shot Walter Collins, the hotel’s general manager.