Daniel Raymond lived in Chalk Hill, a small village in southwestern Pennsylvania. He was in his early forties in February of 1960 when he took his rifle down from its resting place and told his wife, “I’m going to use this.”
She could not have known the extent to which he would, in fact, use his weapon, but she knew him well enough to leave that evening with her children, an act that likely saved their lives.
When Dan Raymond shot the township worker spreading ash on the local roads, it was early morning. He was an accomplished sharpshooter from a family with a history of violence, as Time Magazine noted after the fact. He moved to his basement, which had small windows and cinder block walls. From there, he began taking shots at passing cars. A family riding by took fire from Raymond. Shots struck and killed a woman as she held her son in her lap.
The State Police arrived by 8:30 in the morning, but Raymond was well-protected in his home, and his marksmanship kept the officers at a distance, even with the stationary machine gun they brought in to end the crisis. It would take a National Guard tank to finally flush the shooter out of his house–only then could that machine gun cut him down. He died trying to reach his car.
All of this happened about ten minutes from my hometown, an area so remote that people leave their keys in the ignition while they’re working and doors go unlocked. That there was an unstable, well-armed man in such a place is not surprising. That the story of his rampage has faded into obscurity is. If it weren’t for my grandfather showing me an old newspaper clipping, I would never have heard of this tragedy.
Daniel Raymond is largely forgotten now, buried under the larger tallies of Charles Whitman, Adam Lanza, and other mass murderers. But the old folks still remember him, and they’ve been around long enough to not be surprised when such men take their rifles down and use them.
A note from Raymond’s son