William Knox Schroeder
|William Knox Schroeder|
July 20, 1950|
|Died||May 4, 1970
Kent, Ohio, U.S.
Schroeder was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Florence Ella (Endebrock) and Louis Arthur Schroeder. He had an older sister, Nancy, and a younger brother, Rudy. Schroeder moved with his family to Lorain, Ohio, when he was in elementary school and graduated from Lorain High School where he was an honors student. Already an Eagle Scout, at age 17 Schroeder applied for the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarship. He received the Academic Achievement award from both the Colorado School of Mines and from Kent State University, where he was a psychology student. He also earned the Association of the United States Army award for excellence in History.
Schroeder was killed by a single shot in the back from an M-1 semi-automatic military rifle. According to reports, he was not taking part in the Vietnam War protests that preceded the shootings, but simply walking between classes. His college roommate, Lou Cusella, stated that he believed Schroeder was trying to flee when shot. "Bill was 332 feet away from the nearest National Guardsman, not much of a threat. He was shot with a folder in his hand." Official reports stated that Schroeder was actually 382 feet from the National Guard at the time he was shot, while lying on the ground facing away from the Guardsmen. The bullet entered his left back at the seventh rib, piercing his left lung, and some fragments exited from the top of his left shoulder. He died almost an hour later while in a hospital undergoing surgery. Three other students were killed in the shootings: Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller and Sandra Scheuer.
The shootings led to protests and a national student strike, causing hundreds of campuses to close because of both violent and non-violent demonstrations. The Kent State campus remained closed for six weeks. Five days after the shootings, 100,000 people demonstrated in Washington, DC against the war.