March 6th 1994.
Lynn Draper was among 80 people quietly watching a Tibetan sand-painting ceremony Saturday at Salt Lake City's main library. But the intentions of the bearded man carrying a handgun and a bomb in a beaten-up gray bag were anything but religious.
At 9:30 a.m. he leapt onto a table on the library's second floor and ordered everyone to freeze.
``Don't anybody leave! Don't anyone go anywhere! I've got a bomb!'' he shouted, waiving his .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun.
Stunned and confused, people began screaming.
Draper, 30, wore khaki military fatigues with razors sewn to the outside of his pants. He handed one of the eight monks a legal-size envelope containing his demands, and asked the Tibetan to read it.
But Thupten Rinpoche, who does not read or speak English, handed back the envelope addressed to William J. Mortimer, editor of the Mormon Church-owned Deseret News.
Draper ordered another man in the crowd, Carl Robinson, to put the envelope in a mailbox.
A distraught loner, Draper apparently was upset about back pay he believed was owed him for military service. He demanded cash, gold and platinum bullion and a pardon from President Clinton.
The gunman then selected people he would hold hostage for five hours until a Salt Lake County Sheriff's lieutenant shot him dead.
``He seemed to pick people who were looking at him, so I didn't want to look at him,'' said Tim Houpt, who escaped.
At one point, Draper singled out a woman and announced: ``You look intelligent.''
Draper herded seven or eight people into the conference room where 10 members of the Toastmasters International were meeting.
Meanwhile, librarian Gwen Page inconspicuously ushered several people out another door. ``He realized after that they were going,'' said Page. ``He seemed hesitant to shoot them.''
Draper forced Page and nine other people into the room and threatened to blow up the building.
The last person to enter the conference room was Lt. Lloyd Prescott. Dressed in civilian clothes, he was next door in the sheriff's building when a witness rushed into his office and explained a gun-wielding man was taking hostages.
``Without Prescott, we probably wouldn't have gotten out of there until Monday, and a few of us would have been dead,'' said Page.
Draper tossed some rope to Page and told her her to tie two tables together to block the doors. He ordered the group to sit in a half-circle around him, facing the wall.
``He had himself protected by us pretty much,'' said hostage Michael Greer, 46, Salt Lake City. ``Like a wall.''
Outside, dozens of Salt Lake City police officers, SWAT members and Salt Lake County Sheriff's deputies surrounded the library building at 209 E. 500 South. Scores of city residents pressed against the police line while negotiators talked to Draper by cellular telephone.
Draper gave authorities 72 hours to meet his demands, or he would kill his hostages one by one.
Fifteen minutes into the ordeal, he ordered Greer to call radio station KCNR-AM and later KLZX-FM to play musical requests. Everyone in the room remained remarkably composed.
``If we stayed calm . . . we had more of a chance of getting out alive,'' Page said.
Hostage Sue Allison of Salt Lake City said Draper was not abusive. ``He wasn't foaming at the mouth and screaming at people.''
But Allison, a 46-year-old diabetic who must have insulin injections five times a day, had a series of reactions. Draper then demanded a military doctor and insulin.
``He eventually allowed them to clear a table, and I was lying on the table and shaking,'' she said. ``I was freezing cold.''
As the hours ticked by, Draper lost patience. He began to get ``anxious'' and was ``close to the edge,'' said Salt Lake City police Lt. Marty Vuyk.
``It got progressively worse,'' Allison acknowledged.
Draper told hostages he would force them to draw straws to determine who would die first.
``It was absolutely damn terrifying,'' Greer said. ``He could have shot any of us at any second.''
At 2:34 p.m. Prescott, head of the sheriff's training division and a 23-year veteran, sensed Draper was losing control.
Quickly, he drew a Glock .40-caliber handgun from a holster under his shirt and yelled ``Hit the floor!'' The hostages dropped. Allison rolled off the table.
Prescott fired three times. Each bullet hit Draper in the chest.
``I turned around and officer Prescott had the gun on him, and the guy was lying on the floor,'' Greer said.
As soon as the shots rang out, SWAT members burst into the room. Salt Lake City police officers Troy Siebert and Karl Gabbitas suffered minor cuts when a glass partition fell.
Draper was pronounced dead 15 minutes after arriving at LDS Hospital.
``He saved all of us,'' Allison said of Prescott. ``The heroism of the police and SWAT team was incredible. I will be eternally grateful to them for their bravery and action.''
Police found a homemade bomb, a can of black gunpowder with more than 100 lead balls glued to the can, which they later detonated in the library.
The explosive was wired to two 9-volt batteries and had a curling iron for a switch. Police said the device was made to detonate when Draper let go of the switch, but it did not.
``It was an improvised Claymore Mine, which the military uses to kill people,'' said bomb technician Ray Dalling.
Draper, who had been living in Salt Lake City for about two months, was staying at the Windsor Hotel, 241 S. State. Vuyk said he originally was from California, where he had a criminal record and a history of mental instability.
In a search of his hotel room, police found gun magazines, ammunition and survival gear.
Hotel resident Cary Tanner said Draper kept to himself. He rarely ever spoke to his neighbors.
``He had a lot of survival gear,'' Tanner recalled. ``When we had the earthquake here [in February], he freaked out and came running down with headgear on.
``And one time, when he was looking for a job, he went out wearing a suit with his headband and canteen on.''
Salt Lake Tribune reporters David Clifton and Michael Phillips contributed to this story.
Caption: Rhonda Maylett/The Salt Lake Tribune Graphic: Library Hostage Shootout Lt. Prescott: Killed gunman, Librarian Page: Aided escapes
(c) 1994 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank,Inc.
March 6, 1994
`I MAY WIND UP IN THE MORGUE . . . BUT I AM NOT GOING TO JAIL'
Author: David Clifton THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE; SLTribune
UT, Crimes, Criminals, Kidnapping, Law Enforcement OfficersNation-World
Estimated printed pages: 3
Once he had herded 10 people into a library conference room, Clifford Lynn Draper's first demand was to hear his some of his favorite tunes.
Waving a gun as he spoke, Draper forced hostage Michael Greer to call KLZX-FM Radio on a cellular phone.
``We want to hear `Hey Jude' [by the Beatles] and Jethro Tull. Tell them to play some Aerosmith,'' Greer told a disc jockey at 10:45 a.m.
It was an unusual request. But station producer Tricia Griffith happily complied.
``We blew off all other programming and that is all we played,'' she said. ``He wanted to go on the air, but the police told me if he asked to say no.'' Draper called KLZX and KCNR-AM seven times during the siege. He initially was agitated, rambling about wanting a military doctor for one of the hostages, and demanding to talk with Salt Lake City Police Chief Ruben Ortega and Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt.
``Incompetent glory-hound cops,'' Draper screamed in a call with KLZX. ``If they try to shoot through the windows or drill through the walls, I will have to let this bomb go.
``I may wind up in the morgue, little bits and pieces in the crematorium, but I am not going to jail!''
Draper told KCNR he wanted a three-day supply of food. He also insisted that his demands be delivered to Deseret News, the Mormon Church-owned daily in Salt Lake City. Meandering notes explained his position:
The 30-year-old man claimed he had been wronged by the government, which allegedly bilked him out of money while he served in the military. He demanded a refund within 72 hours, and he wanted it in cash, gold and platinum bullion. And, strangely, he requested a pardon from President Clinton, although he didn't say what the pardon was for.
KCNR producer Nilsa Feliciano heard it all. ``It was scary,'' she said. ``I didn't dare come out and say anything. If I were to say the wrong thing, who knows?''
Hours into the siege, Draper appeared to relax. He became almost playful, asking for a guest appearance on KLZX's popular morning show with Jon Carter and Dan Bammes.
``Perhaps in the morning I'll be feeling a little frisky after I take all the speed the doctor is going to have to give me so I can stay awake all night,'' he told Dave Hebertson of KCNR.
But the longer Draper talked, the more concerned police became. ``I don't want to have to do something like draw lots and select a victim here,'' he told KCNR at 2:07 p.m. ``It's coming down to the point where I may have to execute someone.''
At 2:34 p.m., Salt Lake County sheriff's Lt. Lloyd Prescott, who himself was a hostage, shot Draper three times in chest. The gunman died at LDS Hospital.
Tim Kelly/The Salt Lake Tribune They made it out alive: Jubilant former hostages leave Salt Lake City library after Saturday ordeal. Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune Captor Clifford Draper is rushed to ambulance after being shot.
(c) 1994 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
Record Number: 1010EC5C0AF951D4.