Arthur Kirk: The Shootout

Deloris Kirk, 1984

Deloris Kirk, 1984
Courtesy The Grand Island Daily Independent, October 28, 1984

As the evening of October 23, 1984, wore on, Arthur Kirk became more and more desperate and angry. Negotiations over the phone had broken down. His wife, Deloris, had talked with him at around 9:30 P.M., and she had urged him to hang up the phone and remember "the plans" they had. (She never explained what she meant by the phrase.) Moments later she wrote a note to an acquaintance standing next to her that said her husband would never leave the farm alive.At the farm, it was dark. Members of the SWAT team were in place around the farm house. Kirk had painted camouflage patterns on his face. He was wearing a gas mask and a steel Army helmet. Outside the SWAT team heard Kirk screaming and yelling.All of a sudden, Kirk came running out of the back door carrying an AR-15 army-type rifle that was converted for automatic firing. Two policemen ordered Kirk to stop. But he kept running toward a windmill where he had built a fortress out of sandbags.Kirk fired twice at the SWAT team voices. They saw the muzzle flashes. At least two policemen returned fire.Officer R. A. McGuire said later,

"It’s instantaneous, there’s no thought process, I’m just returning the fire. He’s gone."

McGuire could no longer see Kirk, but no one knew if he’d been hit.In the meantime, another officer was firing from the opposite direction. A total of about 30 rounds were fired. Kirk had been hit twice, once in the thigh and once in the chest. It took several minutes for police to find Kirk in the darkness. He lived for a few minutes after the shooting, but quickly bled to death.

“Cairo Farmer Dies in Shootout ”The Grand Island Daily Independent Wednesday, October 24, 1984