A Scream Rang Out!

July 11, 1942 a young waitress in Oklahoma City, Norma J. Cowan, ended her shift, put away her apron and decided to walk the five blocks to her home. It was clear and so she decided against a taxi and set off on foot. The restaurant was located on NE 23 and so she headed toward Broadway and cut through Winan's Park.  Broadway was a busy street, the other streets were well-lit and the only dark patch was the stretch through the park. 
A youth emerged from the shadows and attacked the young woman and a tense struggle ensued. She cried out gaining the attention of a security guard from the nearby Braum's plant to note the sound.  Assuming it was mere horseplay, it was not until the girl scrambled out of her attacker's grasp, hair ornaments falling away and loosing one shoe, that it sank in that someone was wrong.
A Oklahoma Highway Police officer James Long passed, heard the commotion, and pulled in to see what was wrong.
The girl hobbling away in one shoe, sobbing, bruised and afraid.
The onlooker still not sure what was going on.
The assailant screams out after the fleeing girl,, "I'll get you!"  He pulls up short as he sees the patrolman stopping and getting out of his patrol car.

 He turns. He fires.  The officer is struck in the chest and goes down. The youth sprints away.
Although desperately wounded, the officer returns fire with the youthful assailant who now ducks and dodges among parked cars near the plant.  The security guard now leaps into the fray and chases the youth but looses him in the dark streets.
The officer will be able to only briefly state events, before he is whisked away and will die later at a local hospital.   As dawn broke that morning in 1942, dozens of police and special units from local police and state law enforcement were searching for clues, witnesses, and suspects.

Eventually the search would include 38 states and several false leads but, by 1959, it remained unsolved.  The would be victim had moved away  and things had changed.  One thing remained for local officers and the family of a slain officer.  That was the mystery of just who had been responsible for the attack and the shooting.

About six months after Pearl Harbor, young men joining up or being drafted, made locating and identifying the mysterious attacker an impossible task.  Did justice catch up with him and he died on some foreign battle field or did he remain free and mobile walking the bright streets and shadowy corners of Oklahoma City?

 "A Scream in the Park Brings Murder to Trooper, Mystery to Investigators". Oklahoman (Jan. 18,1959) 13.
"Police to Quiz Three in City Park Slaying." Oklahoman (July 15, 1942)9.
"Youth Insists he shot Long Despite Record." Oklahoman (Oct. 18, 1942)5.

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