Pair wanted in shoot­ing cap­tured in Kansas

Stu­dent killed in IBM class­room

The Times-Tribune - - Local History - ERIN NISSLEY Lo­cal His­tory

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.

Iden­ti­fied quickly

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.

‘Car­ni­val roustabouts’

“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.”

Scared

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: lo­cal­his­tory@timessham­rock.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.

TIMES-TRI­BUNE ARCHIVES

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 McDonnell, De­tec­tive Ge­orge Don­ald­son, Sgt. Al­bert Perry and Bat­sav­age.

TIMES-TRI­BUNE ARCHIVES

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.

TIMES-TRI­BUNE ARCHIVES / ASSOCIATED PRESS

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.

Wal­ter Pop­kowski

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