Kanawha County Textbook Controversy

Charleston Daily Mail
September 13, 1974

United Parcel Worker Shot At Rand

Man Surrenders To Deputies In Shooting, Claims He Fired to Frighten Off Pickets

By Bob Adams and Keith Walters
Of The Daily Mail Staff

A Rand man was shot in the chest today shortly after he and other United Parcel Service truck drivers prepared to return home after being turned away from their trucks by school book protesters, deputies and state police said.

The victim identified as Philip Cochran, 30, of 5205 Midland Driver, was undergoing surgery at Charleston Memorial Hospital. He was listed in serious condition.

A short time after the 9 a.m. shooting, a man identified as Bill Noel, 27, of Raven Drive, Rand, surrendered to deputies at the Kanawha County jail and said he was the person who had shot the man at Rand, deputies said. Noel was charged with felonious shooting and was to be arraigned before Justice of the Peace Millard Stone.

Two pistols, a .32 and a .22, were found in the man's car. The caliber of the bullet that struck Cochran had not been determined, but it appeared to have been of the smaller caliber.

A police source said Noel, in a statement, said he was in his car heading for Charleston when he pulled up near the UPS center where picketing activity was in progress.

He said pickets ran toward his car and he held up his gun to frighten them. One man kept coming, he said, and he cocked the gun and fired one shot.

Witnesses said a blue Volkswagen stopped across the street from the drivers and one shot was fired from it, knocking Cochran to the pavement.

Ron Berkley, UPS supervision, said there were no state policemen or sheriff's deputies at UPS when the shooting occurred. He said he arrived at 7:45 a.m., there were three pickets there and he said he understood that they had been there since 4 a.m.

Larry Ballengee, another UPS driver, said, "That guy shot a good Christian boy when he shot Cochran. Cochran never hurt anyone and he wasn't mean."

Smith's Transfer Corp. at Belle, the scene of yesterday's shooting, remained barricaded today for the second day despite a federal court injunction against the protesters.

By mid-morning, however, Smith's officials had not read the terms of the injunction to those manning the picket lines.

Edwin A. Sieveking, regional vice president for The Kroger Co., said 35 truckloads of perishable foodstuffs would have to be destroyed if the company's Kanawha City warehouse remained strikebound much longer.

One of the largest gatherings of the protesters has been at the warehouse since Wednesday evening.

Kanawha Valley stores received one shipment of supplies earlier this week, Sieveking said, but shortages would begin appearing at several stores unless the protest situation is alleviated.

The warehouse services 52 Kroger stores throughout southern West Virginia.

Picket lines formed by the pkotesters [sic] appeared at several construction sites throughout the valley blocking work there. Among the projects halted was One Valley Square, the $9 million office complex which will house the Kanawha Valley Bank.

In addition, highway construction was halted on the Ferry Branch connector of I-64, the Greenbrier Street interchange, and I-77 from the State Capitol to Bigley Avenue.

Disturbances connected with the school book dispute were also reported at Appalachian Power Co.'s Cabin Creek plant, Walker Machinery Co., and several businesses in Montgomery.

Today's shooting occurred shortly after 9 a.m. about two blocks away from the parcel service at Bluefield Avenue and Midland Drive in Rand, deputies said.

Deputies were told by witnesses Cochran had left the group to return home after all of the drivers agreed it was the "only sensible thing to do" after they encountered pickets at the UPS terminal.

Another UPS driver, Ernie Ash, said, "we were breaking up to go home when this blue car stopped and the man in it fired point black at Cochran. He point the gun very casually at another man, but didn't fire and drove away real slow as it nothing had happened."


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