The .22 Caliber Killer And A Community Under Siege 

Once again Buffalo  finds itself  in the national spotlight for domestic terrorism and racist attacks .

In 1980, another White supremacist descended upon our community. His name was Joseph Christopher, a former Army private,  better known as the .22-caliber Killer.

In a reign of terror,  he stalked the streets randomly killing innocent Black men; shooting them to death with a .22 caliber weapon.

The wave of shootings began on Sept. 24, 1980, and during the next 36 hours, three innocent Buffalo Black men and one Black boy   were murdered with a .22 caliber sawed-off Ruger semi-automatic rifle concealed in a brown paper bag.

Glenn Dunn, 14 of Fougeron Street  was the first    victim of the racist, senseless attacks as he sat in a car in a parking lot on Genesee St.; followed by Harold Green 32,  of LaSalle Avenue,  then  Emmanuel Thomas also 32   who was gunned down at the intersection of East Ferry and Zenner Streets   both    by a White man wielding a .22-caliber weapon.

The following day in Niagara Falls, Joseph L. McCoy, 43, was shot to death, again a case of a Black man shot by a White man .

 McCoy and Green were each reportedly shot in the head at point blank range with the  same .22 caliber automatic weapon.

Yet a police “slowdown” and  officials reluctance to solicit and accept   outside aid created a tense and uncomfortable situation. Officials insisted on making him a “Loner” – despite eyewitnesses to the E. Ferry St. killing who saw the assailant escape in a waiting  blue car…the same car that was involved in the sick incident at Glenn Dunn’s funeral when two vehicles carrying White men invaded Dunn’s funeral shouting racial epithets as they drove by the crowded sidewalk outside St. Paul’s  Missionary Baptist Church on Kingsley Street.  

According to witnesses  they wore red paint to look like  blood with bullet holes painted on their bodies. A brown pick-up truck along with the blue compact car carried a. mannequin’s head mounted on its hood.

Two  of the killings took place in what was then known as “Klan territory” in the Bailey section of the city.

Oct. 8 and 9 the grisly remains of the two cab drivers, Parlor Edwards, 71, and Ernest Jones, 40, were discovered; their hearts ripped from their bodies.

Buffalo finally gained unwanted national attention. Then   Karl Hand, a racist White supremacist announced plans for a Nazi rally on Martin Luther King’s  birthday in downtown Buffalo. A crowd of some  5,000 people gathered on the steps of City Hall for a “Unity Day Rally,” in opposition to  Hand’s call,  decrying racism and the killings.

But the   attacks continued. Many in the Black community became armed and Black men began to mobilize.

Then in December, three Black men and a dark-skinned Hispanic were stabbed to death on the streets of Manhattan. 

Two other Black men were stabbed but lived. Christopher was later convicted for two of the attacks.

He committed three additional attacks in Buffalo on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (Albert Menefee, Larry Little, and Calvin Crippen), but all three victims survived.

Christopher was eventually captured, tried and convicted (although the cases of the two  cab drivers  remained open and unsolved)  and eventually sentenced to life in prison. While imprisoned at the Attica Correctional Facility – in protective  custody – Christopher claimed that he committed 13 killings. He died  of cancer in prison   on March 1, 1993, at the age of 37.