CADDO, Okla. – It was one of the darkest days in the history of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
In April of 1978, Carl Dennis and Michael Lancaster escaped from the McAlester state prison and led law enforcement officers on a manhunt that spanned several states.
“For the next 34 days, they went on a crime spree of rape, robbery, shooting at police officers, killing civilians and caused fear and panic especially amongst the people of Bryan County,” Capt. Ronnie Hampton told KXII.
On May 26, 1978, officials say Troopers James Grimes, Houston Summers and Billy Young were all gunned down by Dennis and Lancaster.
Summers and Young were killed on a county road near Kenefic. Grimes was killed in Caddo when he engaged the escapees in a gunfight to protect children nearby.
The two escapees were later shot and killed by other troopers.
A monument was erected in Caddo to honor the memory of the troopers.
On Saturday, the community held a rededication ceremony of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Caddo-Kenefic Memorial in honor of the 40th anniversary of the shootings.
“Here we sit in remembrance of those men and their sacrifice and all of the men who were here on this day,” OHP Commissioner Rusty Rhoades said. “Their memory is part of the fabric of this brown shirt that we wear.”