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Believe Meridian, Jackson Temple Bombings Solved by Capture of Suspected Night Rider

July 2, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

More arrests are expected in connection with the capture of a suspected night-rider who may be connected with bombing of synagogues and a rabbi’s home. Police Chief Roy Gunn told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today. The police and other law enforcement agencies are seeking possible cohorts of Thomas Albert Tarrants 3d, 22 years old, who was wounded yesterday by police after he fled from the yard of a prominent Jewish businessman’s home here, leaving behind a box containing 29 dynamite sticks.

Chief Gunn said that Mr. Tarrants was in fair condition with numerous wounds at a local hospital and is charged with attempted murder with a deadly weapon. He wounded a policeman in an exchange of fire when police who had staked out the home of Meyer Davidson, 51, pursued him. His woman companion Mrs. Ralph (Cathy) Ainsworth, 26, who was in his car was killed.

Chief Gunn said Mr. Tarrants had been a “prime suspect” in the bombing of Temple Beth El here in May, the residence and synagogue of Rabbi Perry Nussbaum in nearby Jackson, a cottage at predominantly Negro Tougaloo College near Jackson, and other homes. The officer said he “now considers 11 recent acts of violence in Meridian as being solved.” Mr. Davidson’s home had been under surveillance after he put up a $75,000 reward following the bombing of the Meridian Reform temple. Chief Gunn said he found a notebook in Mr. Tarrants’ pocket which contained the following note: “Gentlemen: I have committed myself to defeating the Communist-Jew conspiracy which threatens our country — any means necessary shall be used. Please be advised that since 23 March, 1968, I…have been underground and operating guerrilla warfare. I have always believed in military action against the Communist enemy.”

Chief Gunn said he believed rewards for information leading to the conviction of the local bomber had been $85,000. It was unclear to whom the note Mr. Tarrants had written was addressed, he said. He declined to answer questions about whether other Jewish homes in Meridian and Jackson had been under police surveillance.

The Meridian synagogue, whose rabbi is Milton I. Schlager, is planning to be rebuilt by the High Holy Days. The cost of the repairs is not known yet, Rabbi Schlager said. Its religious school was damaged but the sanctuary of the $400,000 building escaped unscathed.

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