Incident Summary:

05/26/1979: Members of the Ku Klux Klan, armed with guns, clubs, and sticks, disrupted a march of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Decatur, Alabama, United States. The march was in support of a mentally disabled black man who was charged with raping a white woman, and convicted by an all-white jury. During the march, Klansmen blocked the street, disobeyed police orders to allow the marchers to pass, and opened gunfire, injuring two black marchers and five law enforcements officials. Two Klansmen were also shot and wounded. In May 1984, ten Klansmen were charged in federal court for civil rights violations in a violent disruption of black marchers and police, and nine of the men were charged with the conspiracy of use of force or threat of force for purposes of intimidating parade participants because of their race. By January 1989, all ten Klan members had either been found guilty or pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them in this incident.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:



Location Details:
at Southern Christian Leadership Conference march

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Police
Name of Entity Alabama Police
Specific Description police
Nationality of Target United States
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity
Specific Description a group of black marchers during a Southern Christian Leadership Conference parade, who were marching in support of a black man who was previously charged for the rape of a white woman
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Unknown Gun Type
Melee Knife or Other Sharp Object
Melee Knife or Other Sharp Object
Weapon Details
guns, clubs, and sticks
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information The perpetrators were Roger D. Handley, William D. Riccio, Ray W. Steele, David L. Kelso, Terry J. Tucker, William J. Mason, Lenwood L. White, Ricky L. Creekmore, Derane O. Godfrey, and Jack R. Mize.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Ku Klux Klan No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 10
Number of Captured Perpetrators 10
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 9 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 9
Number of U.S. Injured 7
Number of Perpetrators Injured 2
Michael J. Sniffen, The Associated Press, May 17, 1984.
Jerry Schwartz, "Guilty Pleas Close Case Against 10 Klan Members," New York Times, January 10, 1989.
Christopher Hewitt, "Political Violence and Terrorism in Modern America: A Chronology," Praeger Security International, 2005.