Rochester, N.Y. - Thursday at 9 p.m. 13WHAM News presents an hour-long look at “13 Stories In 50 Years” of broadcasting.
The list was compiled with collaboration from the some of the most veteran reports and journalists in Rochester, all working at 13WHAM.
One of those stories involves the bloody events of June 1981 on Thurston Road at the Security Trust Bank. A crazed gunman (William Bradley Griffin) took the employees of that bank hostage, fired more than a hundred rounds at police and innocent bystanders, and even killed one of those hostages becoming the first hostage-taker to follow through on his demands.
Tonight 13WHAM News reunites former Channel 13 Reporter Allan Harris with Chief Photographer Paul DePascale who was on the scene with him that day. Joining them are two former RPD SWAT Team members (Billy Danno and John Strong) and a surprise appearance from a former hostage who was inside the bank that day. (Lorraine Drake)
Also on that SWAT Team that day was Lt. Governor Bob Duffy, Rochester’s former Police Chief and Mayor. Duffy remembers that day vividly and told 13WHAM News he recalls speaking out at a debriefing the following day.
"Afterwards we were very upset we had a debriefing and I remember being very vocal about the fact that we should've been able to make a decision to shoot our weapons because I really felt very strongly that it perhaps could've saved the victims life,” Duffy said. “When she was being walked out because I had the suspect in my sights and I remember watching and we couldn't, we were given orders not to."
Duffy said that later then-Chief Delmar Leach took the blame for that decision knowing that his officers would carry that burden with them. He said he carried with him many lessons from that day and remembers the victim, Margaret Moore, often.
CLICK ON OUR VIDEO BOX TO VIEW A “SNEAK PEAK” OF THE THURSTON ROAD SHOOTOUT.