Rampage Killers

James Edward Pough

James Edward “Pop” Pough (February 16, 1948 – June 18, 1990) was an American spree killer, who, on June 18, 1990, killed nine people and wounded four others in a General Motors Acceptance Corporation car loan office in Jacksonville, Florida, before committing suicide. The day before, he had already killed a prostitute and her pimp, wounded two teenagers, and robbed a convenience store.

The shooting at the GMAC office was the worst single-day massacre by a lone gunman in Florida history, surpassing the murder of eight machine shop employees in Hialeah by Carl Robert Brown on August 20, 1982.

The 1990 killing spree

First attacks

Pough started his killing spree in the night of June 17 at about 12:50 a.m. Armed with his M1 carbine, which was wrapped in a blanket, he walked up to a group of men standing at a street corner in the northwest section of Jacksonville, not far from his home, and killed Louis Carl Bacon, a pimp, with two shots in the chest before leaving. A couple of minutes later, he attacked prostitute Doretta Drake, who was chatting with two other women in a vacant parking lot just two blocks from the first crime scene. After hitting Drake with his car, throwing her on the sidewalk, Pough stepped out of his Buick and killed her with a single shot to the head, again from the M1, before driving away. Police assumed that the reason behind these killings was a failed sex-for-money deal.

A short time later, Pough also shot and wounded two youths, 17 and 18 years of age, after asking them for directions. Later, on the morning of June 18, Pough entered a convenience store, threatened the clerk with a pistol and, stating that he didn’t have anything to lose, demanded all of the money in the register. After getting the money he left.

GMAC shooting

After robbing the convenience store, he visited his mother’s grave one last time, and then called his supervisor that he wouldn’t come to work because he had something else to do. At about 10:44 a.m., Pough parked his car at the General Motors Acceptance Corporation office located at 7870 Baymeadows Way in Jacksonville. He entered the building through the front door, armed with his M1 carbine, a .38-caliber revolver, several loaded magazines, and ammunition packed in his pockets. Then, without saying a word, he immediately began shooting with the M1 carbine at two customers at the front counter, killing Julia Burgess and wounding David Hendrix with four shots. Walking through the open office, he then systematically moved from desk to desk and shot at the GMAC workers, deliberately aiming at those hiding under their desks.

Drew Woods was the first to be shot at his desk, followed by Cynthia Perry and Barbara Holland nearby, as well as Phyllis Griggs, who was injured. When the GMAC employees realized what was going on, many of them escaped through a back door of the building, while Pough started shooting at those ducking for cover. GMAC employees Janice David, Sharon Hall, Jewell Belote, Lee Simonton, Denise Highfill, Ron Echevarria, and Nancy Dill were also shot. He then put the .38-caliber revolver to his head and committed suicide. In just about two minutes, Pough had fired at least 28 rounds from his carbine, hitting 11 of the 85 workers in the office, as well as the two customers. Six of his victims died at the scene, while another three died at hospital, the last being Jewell Belote, who succumbed to his wounds nine days after the shooting.

When searching Pough’s car, police recovered a loaded 9mm pistol, two magazines, and ammunition, as well as twelve pieces of nylon rope, each having a length of 24 inches, which led police to the assumption that Pough initially might have intended to take hostages. When police arrived at Pough’s home, it had been ransacked, although they found a calendar with two dates circled in red: May 8, the day he killed his friend Pender, and June 18.

Victims

Killed

June 17
  • Louis Carl Bacon, 39
  • Doretta Drake, 30
June 18
  • Julia White Burgess, 42, customer
  • Drew Woods, 38
  • Cynthia L. Perry, 30
  • Barbara Duckwall Holland, 45
  • Janice David, 40
  • Sharon Louise Hall, 45
  • Jewell Belote, 50, died on June 27
  • Lee Simonton, 33
  • Denise Sapp Highfill, 36

Wounded

June 17
  • Unidentified teenager, 17
  • Unidentified teenager, 18
June 18
  • David Hendrix, 25, customer
  • Phyllis Griggs
  • Ron Echevarria
  • Nancy Dill
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