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John Felton PARISH





Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Laboral revenge
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: August 9, 1982
Date of birth: July 4, 1933
Victims profile: Dave Bahl, 28 / Wyvonne Kohler, 45 / Martin Douglas Moran, 30 / Moody Charles Smith, 58 / Rick Svoboda, 37 / Eddie Eugene Ulrich, 40
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Grand Prairie, Tarrant County, Texas, USA
Status: Crashed a tractor-trailer rig through a police barricade before officers shot him to death

Killed six people in a shooting rampage as he shot up his bosses' offices.

Crashed a tractor-trailer rig through a police barricade before officers shot him to death.



Texas trucker kills 6, dies in chase, gun battle

Philadelphia Daily News

August 9, 1982

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - A carbine-toting trucker, reportedly angry over being banned from driving, killed six people in a shooting rampage today, stole a truck and led police on a wild chase before he was shot and killed.


John Felton Parish (July 4, 1933 August 9, 1982) was an American mass murderer who shot dead six people and wounded three others at two warehouses in Grand Prairie, Texas, United States on August 9, 1982.

Afterwards, while driving a hijacked semi-trailer truck, he led police on a high-speed chase through Grand Prairie downtown that ended only when he broke through a police barricade, injuring an officer, and crashed into a building. He was subsequently killed by police during a shootout.

It was the worst shooting rampage in Dallas-Fort Worth history at that time.


Parish was born in Dallas County, Texas on July 4, 1933. He was married and had two children, though he was estranged from his wife and had lost a child custody-battle against her shortly before the shooting. Also the same year his brother needed his second kidney implant and his older sister died from cancer.

Parish, who had no police-record and was described by his supervisors as an easy-going person, had been a trucker for 20 years and worked for Jewel T warehouse for eight months, before joining the Western Transportation Company in September 1980.

The people at Jewel T complained about him, calling him a troublemaker, and Jewel T supervisor Rick Svoboda demanded that Parish should be taken off a contract job Western Transportation had with Jewel T, whereupon he was banned from making deliveries for said company.

In the two weeks prior to the shooting Parish had a pay dispute with Western Transportation and had complained to supervisor Eddie Ulrich that he was owed $1,600 of outstanding pay.

Though Ulrich rejected his claims, explaining that he had earned less, because he had worked less. Nonetheless Parish felt, according to his brother and his friends, mistreated and was tired of it, but also stated that they could work it out, if they talked to him like a man, and didn't treat him like a fool.

Shooting Spree

At approximately 8:00 a.m. on August 9, Parish, armed with a shortened M1 carbine, a .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol, and a .38-caliber revolver, entered the Western Transportation Company building in the central business district of Grand Prairie, to discuss for a last time with his supervisor Eddie Ulrich about his payment dispute. When the discussion did not go to his liking, Parish killed Ulrich, as well as truck driver Martin Moran and operations manager Moody Smith, before stealing a bobtail truck and driving to the Western Transportation Company office half a block down the street.

There he killed executive secretary Wyvonne Kohler and wounded receptionist Ruth James with shots in her shoulder and neck, as well as operations manager Burnett Hart with a shot to the head. He also took office worker Vicki Smallwood hostage for a while, to find an executive named Mike, threatening: "If he's not in, you're dead." Though, after his search proved to be of no avail, Parish decided to let his hostage go, when realizing that she was the wife of an acquainted mechanic.

Parish next drove to Jewel T warehouse about four miles away, arriving there a few minutes later. There he killed district sales manager Dave Bahl, and then went to the shipping office, where he was confronted by warehouse supervisor Rick Svoboda. Parish put his revolver to Svoboda's jaw and killed him, and then shot him again in the face when he was lying on the floor. Parish also wounded shipping supervisor Robert Sarabia after chasing him.

Eventually Parish left the building and approached a 18-wheeler tractor-trailer loaded with cookies. Its driver, Carl Lorentz, at the sight of the gunman jumped out of the truck, breaking his foot.

Hijacking the truck Parish left the compound of Jewel T warehouse and, chased by police by now, raced at 70mph through downtown Grand Prairie. After 1 1/2 miles Parish neared a police barrickade, where he was shot at by police officer Alan T. Patton and crashed into a police car, knocking the officer across the street. Patton suffered multiple fractures and a punctured lung.

The truck then knocked down a utility pole and crashed, together with another car, into a building owned by the E.L. Murphy Trucking Company. Upon hitting the wall the truck overturned. Parish crawled out of his vehicle, shooting at the officers, and made his way into the building through a hole in a wall, where he was killed by police with seven or eight shots at 8:27 a.m.

During the shooting Parish had used all of his weapons, mostly the M1 carbine, which was fired about 28 times, and his revolver, while only one shot was fired with his pistol.


Dave Bahl, 28, district sales manager at Jewel T warehouse
Wyvonne Kohler, 45, executive secretary at Western Transportation Company
Martin Douglas Moran, 30, truck driver for Western Transportation Company
Moody Charles Smith, 58, operations manager at Western Transportation Company
Rick Svoboda, 37, warehouse supervisor at Jewel T warehouse
Eddie Eugene Ulrich, 40, supervisor at Western Transportation Company


Texas trucker kills 6 in rampage

The Miami Herald

August 10, 1982

A truck driver killed six persons and injured four Monday as he shot up his bosses' offices, then crashed a tractor-trailer rig through a police barricade before officers shot him to death.

Police said the violence began about 8 a.m. when John F. Parish, 46, of Dallas, armed with an M1 carbine, a .25-caliber automatic pistol and a .38-caliber revolver, walked into the Western Transfer Co. building in the central business district of this Dallas suburb.


Texas trucker slain after killing 6

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - A truck driver killed six people and injured four yesterday as he shot up his bosses' offices, and crashed a tractor-trailer rig through a police barricade before he was gunned down, authorities said.

Police said the violence began about 8 a.m. when John F. Parish, 46, of Dallas, armed with two pistols and a rifle, walked into the Western Transfer Co. building in the central business district of this Dallas suburb.

Witnesses said Parish spoke to no one as he calmly shot and killed three of his supervisors, Eddie Eugene Ulrich, 40, Martin Douglas Moran, 30, and Moody Charles Smith, 58, of Lufkin.

He then left his company vehicle, stole a truck and drove a half block to another Western Transfer office, where he fatally wounded executive secretary Wyvonne Kohler, 45, of Arlington. He wounded 19-year-old receptionist Ruth James of Alvarado and Burnett Hart, 42, an operations manager from Arlington.

A few minutes later, Parish entered the warehouse of Jewel-T, a discount grocery store, where he shot and killed Dave Bahl and Rick Svoboda. Robert Sarabia, 30, was wounded.

Police Chief David Kunkle said Parish worked for Western Transfer, which contracted with Jewel-T. He said Jewel-T officials had complained to Western Transfer about the trucker, claiming he was a troublemaker.

Kunkle also said Parish had had a pay dispute with Western Transfer for the last two weeks.

"This was not a random shooting," the police chief said. "The man obviously had an agenda. He had a mission to accomplish."

After the shootings at Jewel-T, Parish commandeered an 18-wheel tractor- trailer loaded with cookies. The driver, Carl Lorentz, 57, of Mesquite, was injured in the scuffle with Parish and was treated at Grand Prairie Community Hospital.

About 30 minutes after it all started, during a running gun battle with police, Parish rammed the truck through a police barricade. Officer Alan T. Patton, 32, who was standing outside his car, was seriously injured.

Wayne Standifer, who owns Wayne's Custom Automotive across the street from the barricade, heard the gunfire and saw the truck hit the police car.

"The truck hit the squad car and the officer went flying across the pavement," Standifer said. "It sent the car about 75 feet backward."

The truck then rolled up a small embankment near a parking lot, knocking down a utility pole and sliding into another car, shoving it into a building owned by the E.L. Murphy trucking company. The truck overturned on its side as it hit the building, its cab crushing against the concrete-block wall.

Jim Hodge, a truck driver from Cullman, Ala., was inside the Murphy building. "I thought I was gone there for a minute," he said.

Bob Fischer, 25, Murphy terminal manager, said he saw the truck come sliding through the wall.

"I stood up and tried to dive through the window," he said, but blinds blocked him. He ran into the adjacent office where Hodge was and both climbed out between the building and the wrecked truck.

Kunkle said Parish continued to fire at officers as he climbed out of the cab and into the building. Several officers fired at him and he suffered seven or eight gunshot wounds. He died in a pool of blood in Fischer's office.

Kunkle said officers recovered an M-1 carbine, a .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol and a .38-caliber pistol after Parish died.



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