Pair wanted in shooting captured in Kansas
Student killed in IBM classroom
A fatal shooting in a Scranton office building sparked a manhunt that ended in Wichita, Kansas.
At 6:20 p.m. on July 1, 1964, a 24-year-old from Kingston was studying in a classroom with several other students and an instructor at the IBM building, Wyoming Avenue and Mulberry Street. Two men stormed in, “brandishing guns and threatening” the people in the classroom, according to a Scranton Times account. One of them shot a .45-caliber handgun, and the bullet pierced Walter F. Popkowski’s “skull, smashed through a glass partition, struck a pillar in an adjoining classroom and dropped to the floor, where it was found later,” according to a July 2, 1964, Scranton Times story.
The robbers made off with about $100. Popkowski was just hours away from completing an 11-week course at the school, the newspaper reported.
Police quickly identified two suspects. Suspect David L. Haan had worked in the building just a few days prior to the shooting. Less than a month before Popkowski was killed, Haan had started work as “an installer for Muzak” and visited the IBM building to begin installing a system.
The 23-year-old from Dunmore, a father of two, failed to report to work on July 3, 1964, and police learned he had not been home all night. More disturbingly, Haan’s “coworkers described him as a gun fancier and dealer who owned a .45-caliber revolver which he carried in his car along with a .38,” The Scranton Times reported on July 3, 1964.
Haan’s wife told police he was friendly with Robert Raikes, a 19-year-old Scranton resident. The St. Mary’s High School graduate had just completed his sophomore year at the University of Scranton, where he studied business. Fellow students said he had an interest in cars and sometimes worked in a Cedar Avenue service station, according to The Scranton Times.
Knowing who the shooters were isn’t the same as knowing
where they were, though. By late August, Scranton police were handing out flyers about Haan and Raikes, who had “virtually disappeared since the crime,” according to an Aug. 27, 1964, Scranton Times article.
Police in Wichita captured
both men at gunpoint on Aug. 30, 1964. They had fled in Haan’s car after the fatal shooting, staying briefly in Canada, Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska.
“They held a variety of jobs and eventually ended up as carnival roustabouts in Wichita,” The Scranton Times reported on Sept. 5, 1964. “They ran afoul of authorities when they tried to peddle Haan’s 1960 convertible in Wichita, where police were alerted. Within hours, the two were captured on a downtown street.”
Witchita detectives brought the pair back to Scranton, where they were arraigned and jailed on Sept. 5, 1964. In interviews with investigators, they said Haan “was the brains behind the plot to burglarize the IBM building but the two were caught in the act,” the newspaper reported. “Haan reportedly was in deep debt when he bought the secondhand car, which put him further in the hole. He has a wife and two children, a 3-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son.”
The men also said they were more scared than the students and instructor during the robbery. Haan claimed “he didn’t even hear the pistol in his hand go off when he shot the victim,” according to the news story.
Next week, read more about the criminal cases against Haan and Raikes.
ERIN L. NISSLEY is an assistant metro editor at The Times Tribune. She has lived in the area for 11 years. Contact the writer: email@example.com
In interviews with investigators, they said Haan “was the brains behind the plot to burglarize the IBM building but the two were caught in the act,” The Scranton Times reported.
Police Superintendent Anthony Batsavage makes a telephone call as other members of the investigative team confer in the office of the school where the shooting took place. From left: Patrolman Robert Donahue, Sgt. Frank Glynn, Detective Capt. James...
Scranton Public Safety Director George Davis, left, listens as Times staff writer Robert Flanagan, right, interviews Carl Nardell of Forty Fort, a witness to the fatal shooting of Walter Popkowski of Kingston in the local IBM Building on July 1, 1964.
Accused killers David Haan, left, and Robert Raikes, both of Scranton, were picked up in Wichita for the slaying of Walter Popkowski of Kingston in a July 1, 1964, holdup in Scranton.