KSU Shooting Survivor: We Need Other Side of the Story

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KENT, Ohio -- The 42nd anniversary of a shooting at Kent State that left four students dead brought calls for a new investigation into the events of May 4, 1970.

Survivors of the shooting on Friday gathered with others to remember the lives of Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Schroeder and Sandra Scheuer.

All were killed when national guardsmen opened fire on students demonstrating the Vietnam War.

Professor Jerry Lewis made his way to the parking lot at Prentice Hall, where he may have saved additional lives that day by urging students to leave after he heard the gunfire and realized guardsmen were firing real bullets.

"It's very real, and this commemoration captures the spirit of the rally that we were going to hold, but the national guard told us to leave within five minutes," said Lewis.

Also present for Friday's ceremonies, were survivors including Alan Canfora, Dean Kahler and Joe Lewis, Jr., all of whom support the effort to closely examine an audio tape recorded during the shooting that was enhanced in 2010.

Some experts believe the recording now clearly reveals that an order to open fire was given.

The U.S. Justice Department has refused to open a new investigation arguing, in part, that voices on the recording could have been of people closer to the microphone, and not from those commanding the guardsmen that day.

Lewis, who was shot twice, says it is important to look more closely into what the recording reveals for historical purposes.

"It's not for the purposes of prosecution, but for the purpose of making the history books include the whole truth," Lewis told Fox 8 News on Friday.

"I think the assistant attorney generals comments didn't rely really on the facts. I think if he was going to make a statement based on the facts, he would rely more strongly on the professional analysis of the audio by people who do that for a living, and he would look at their sound pictographs, and the conclusions they came to," he added.

Lewis says he has long ago forgiven the two guardsmen who fired at him. He and others believe so much time has passed that what matters now is to get the story correct, and not who is to blame. He and other victims are urging any surviving guardsmen from that shooting to open up and tell their side of the story.

"We need to have the other half of the story. We need to have guardsmen tell us what their experience was like because everyone who was here at Kent State, whether you were shot and wounded or not, you were wounded spectators, as well as guardsmen, and I think in order to know the whole truth, we need to know their truth as well," said Lewis.

On the 42nd anniversary of the shooting, the University is also putting the finishing touches on a May 4th Visitors Center in Taylor Hall overlooking the historic site where the events of 1970 took place.

The center, which will feature exhibits related to the shootings, is expected to be open in August.

Present day students, whose parents were college age when the shootings happened, are among those who believe the center is long overdue.

"This is a big part of what our campus stands for," said Brittany Martony who graduates on Saturday, "and I think a lot of our students need to remember that."

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