Lt. Ed Worrell and Ptl. James “Butch” Clark responded to a burglary in progress at the Howard’s Discount Center located on North Stateline Avenue during the early morning hours of February 3, 1977. As they exited their vehicles to check the building, 15-year-old John Lohbauer watched from a nearby bank parking lot and shot both officers with a high powered rifle. Two of Lohbauer’s companions were arrested inside the business.
The three boys, all sophomores at Elgin High Schoool, had run away from their homes in Elgin, Illinois.
The following is from a front page Chicago Tribune article that ran Feb. 13, 1977,
It had been a difficult school year for Jon Lohbauer. In his first year at the huge Elgin High School, his grades had slipped badly. His father had to punish him, and their arguments were getting worse. His father, a successful Elgin heating, air-conditioning, and sheet metal contractor, had even threatened him with military school. The youth decided to run away.
The boys were heading from Hot Springs, Ark. to Dallas, Texas but had to stop in Texarkana due to car problems. They attempted to buy more ammunition at K-Mart but the store refused to sell it the boys just like other stores they had tried over the last few days. They then headed to Howard’s Discount Center where they planned to steal the ammunition. The ammo wasn’t readily reachable so instead they bought a crowbar and two flashlights.
At about 1 a.m. the two other boys broke a window out of Howard’s Discount Store and entered the store to steal ammunition which set off a silent alarm. When officers arrived at Howard’s Lohbauer raised his .30-06 rifle and shot Officer James Clark. Lt. Worrell, apparently mistook an echo for the shot and hid behind some bushes exposing his back to Lohbauer.
Lt. Ed Worrell died as a result of gunshot wounds an hour later at Saint Michael Hospital.
Ptl. Clark eventually recovered from his wounds. He now is retired from the Arkansas Highway Police.
Lohbauer was arrested a short time later and is currently serving a life sentence plus 40 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Lohbauer requested clemency from Governor Clinton in 1991 and Governor Huckabee in 2004 both of which were opposed by the City of Texarkana, Arkansas and the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department.
Ed Worrell park on 35th street in Texarkana, Arkansas was named after Lt. Worrell.
Resolution no. 3145 opposing executive clemency for John. C. Lohbauer
View Chicago Tribune archive article.