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 photo GeorgeBurrisJrandtwofreinds edit.jpg
Granddaddy Burris on right

My aunt Wanda sent me a news story about my paternal grandfather, George Washington Burris, Jr. shooting at a bank robber making his getaway in an alley outside the Citizens Bank in Arkadelphia (Clark Co.) AR.

The article was reprinted in the Southern Standard on 27 Feb 1975 under a heading called Long Ago. The subheading for the article was Forty-Two Years Ago, which means my gunslinger Granddad spring into action on 27 Feb 1933.
 photo 27 Feb 1975 Southern Standard.jpg

Citizens Bank Robbed - For the first time in the history of this city, an Arkadelphia bank was robbed in broad daylight, when two men, unmasked, but wearing goggles entered the Citizens National Bank a few minutes before 4:00 o'clock, the closing hour, and locking the four employees and a number of customers in a rear room, closing the front door and pulling down the shades, proceeded to scoop up all available cash, $9,200.

However, the robbers had been seen by entering the bank by two 17-year-old negro boys, Clifton Edmonds and Sandefur Cook. They were standing on the sidewalk in front of the bank and saw one of the men loosen a gun in his pocket as he went in the door. They ran to tell the merchants in adjoining stores and the alarm was spread rapidly. Officers and armed citizens quickly filled the streets and alleys in the vicinity of the bank.

One of the robbers, seeing the crowd gather, made his escape by a side door, while the other remained, sacking up the money. As the latter went out of the building into the alley, turning at the rear of the building to another alley, he was met by shots by George Burris, assistant postmaster, and was driven back into the alley.

When he attempted to fight his way out, he was met by shots by Harris Mackey and other citizens who were firing from the alley. All shots went wild but forced the robber to seek shelter in the rear of the Pink Tea Grocery store, where he was later captured by Ed Fortson who had entered the store from the front. The man, who gave his name as Clifford Massey, ex-convict and former Little Rock big "shot" botlegger,
(sic) was placed in jail.

Search revealed two sacks filled with money crammed into a ventilator hole in the ground back of the Pink Tea Grocery, and after a check-up the bank officials reported that every cent of the money had been recovered.

The other robber also caused great excitement but made his get-away.

Maybe that gun on his hip in that undated photo was no joke...


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Dee Burris Blakley

August 2017

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