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Steve Schnabel

Darrell Graf & Steve Schnabel interviewed together. They were the
Medina police officers involved the day of the roadblock shootout.
00;50 ... In order to start on that day
farmer got in a gunbattle with his bank dispute and that opened my eyes...
2/15 ...I met GK in 1982 or early 83. ...I became aware he could deliver
his message.
2:30... GK had told me he had been abused and whether that was right
or not, that was what was in his mind... the thurs before that an apb was
issued saying Kahl and others were heavily armed and dangerous going to
a farm auction.
3:15 .... I was sure that if law officials tried to capture him they'd
be massacred... I became very concerned and contacted Brad Kapp and told
him of my concerms... I discussed with them the potentials of this case
and I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. ...and indicated to them,
if they planned on doing anything they better have a 30 man swat team...and
I told them I didn't want it to have in my town...
4:25... 24 hours after this warning there was the shootout, obviously
they didn't listen to me...
5:00 there was signs posted in the community about having meetings at
the Medina clinic concerned with farm foreclosures...
Keith Shive from the Farm Liberation Army
5/38...part of the problems were when the farm gets foreclosed the people
foreclosing would go so far as to sell the childrens toys...
...6:00 talks about the meetings...there intentions were to go to farm
disclosures and bid pennies on it, to discourage people from bidding and
get them to leave. At first I thought these armed individuals were with
the FLF from Kansas and then I saw them at the second meeting and I wondered
who these people were...at that point I discussed it with Doc Martin, he
told me who they were...
the warrant was made public the thursday before the shootout...
7:15 I tried to get Doc Martin to talk GK into giving himself up...
he said there was no way GK was going to. He's afraid too that there's going
to be trouble...
...7/53...well after warning the chief deputy sheriff of our county
and the local resident deputy,
8:00 I was shocked that I was being called and an arrest attempt was
going to be made. I thought they would have listened to my insight on the
matter and left it alone until they were ready to do the job right...
8:20 this guy was no threat to the community, he had a real rough time
with the fed. govt. that was not our problem. I was shocked......I begged
the deputy to give up on this...I was told by deputy Kapp that it was okay
that I don't help, He said, we'll take care of that...
...9/04...After I saw that this thing was really going to take place,
I contacted rescue squad members, not over the emergency phone system, but
I called them individually, also at that time I was training officer of
the fire dept....and told them when they got to the fire station, nobody
makes any calls and here's the situation...9/34...
I expected big trouble and there'll be a shootout. I didn't expect
it to turn out the way it did. I thought that Gordon would step out of the
car with a rifle in his hand....and he'd be shot right on the spot and anybody
else with him. And that would have been proper police procedure...9/54...
it turned out to be a standoff that lasted for several minutes. So,
I had these ambulance people standing by so that if something did happen
we could get in there and help cleanup and save the lives that we could
and lessen the tragedy...10/11...
well, to my suprise, gordon obviously got the upper hand and shot the
law enforcement...
10;00... as it turned out Gordon won out.
...it turned out what we did turned out quite well...after the incident
happened we had people on the scene right away...
11/40...SS: what had happened, I was in the national guard and I was
coming back from a drill...I heard on the radio something was going on...
I heard GK was in town and the marshals were going to get... we went to
the fire hall and got some people together.
13:00...SS= they were calling for Darrel and I answered it. I thought
they wanted directions down to the clinic...
14:00 when I met them they told me they wanted to set up a roadblock...I
knew I was hooked. We wanted to set it up by the elevator...
...14/40...SS= we moved it about a mile out of town...
15:15...SS= A lot in a short time, every thing happened so fast.. you
don't have time to think... at first they were very professional, it seemed
like they knew what they were doing. ..
16/20...it wasn't very long, maybe two minutes before they came over,
by the cheese plant there...16/31...
...16/49...when they pulled into the driveway, we got into our cars.
I think we started moving down the hill... we didn't go very far, if we
even did move. I don't remember...17/08...
...but I do remember we stopped. and I was listening to a, I was wondering
why were stopping in the first place...17/24... or why we weren't down there.
Why we didn't get down there right away...17/29...
...17/31....We moved down, it was roughly a hundred and fifty yards
away...17/38...and we stopped and again ...I don't know why we stopped at
that point...17/46...I noticed Muir didn't get out of the car.
17:55... right at this time Faul started running towards the trailerhouse
and Wigglesworth ran to cut him off...18/06...
18/09 ...and Chesire was calling on the radio, he was calling for Muir...he
was calling for us to get up there...you know I would have wanted us up
there too...18/19... and I was wondering what he was doing because he wasn't
moving his car...18/25...
...18/31...he was a little bit ahead of me, maybe half a car length
or so...and ...18/38...that's the way I wanted it, they were the one's with
the warrants, supposedly they were the ones with the plan, soo, it was their
ballgame so to speak...18/49...
...and he wasn't moving and finally uh, Chesire kept calling and what
was happening was, Muir was calling for backup...19/07...
...he was calling to get more people in there...
...19/19...I really didn't know what was going on ... I always did wonder
why we were stopped there, why we didn't move in...19/39...
...I don't recall, maybe Darrel knows, I think we were all on the county
channel, Channel 3 and at that time Ken had switched to channel one...19/56...on
state radio, that's why Chesire couldn't get him...20/02...
...So I had gotten out of my car and went over there and said, heh,
they want us up there...20/11...then we started moving up there...
20/46...well when we were 150 yards back there, I could hear yelling,
you could hear people yelling, but I couldn't tell who was saying what to
who...20/57...I just knew that they were yelling at each other...
21/22...what happened was, we finally got up there, if I remember this
right, we were sitting 150 yards out and then we moved in about to fifty
yards and stopped again...
21/43... at this time Hopsen was in the E. ditch and he was waving
for us to get up there. I assume so he could get behind the engine block.
...or behind the car somewhere...22:06
...22/07...well, we finally moved up there and I would say I was close
to 10 to 15 yards away from Hopson when he got up and ran up to the station
wagon and started slamming his gun on the stationwagon and right there I
said to myself, here we go.
...and it was maybe a minute after that, if even that long, everything
out there seemed to last so long...22/42...
...even the shooting part it lasted only about 30 seconds but it seemed
like five minutes to me...22/49...it was just shortly after that, I hopped
out of the car with a shotgun, got behind the engine block and a shot was
23:05... I don't know who fired the first shot... the only thing I can
tell you is it came from in front of me...23/12... and it sounded like
a rifle shot to me. Ten seconds after the first shot til the shooting began.
everyone was saying "Who shot? Who shot?"
I ducked... it was more or less playing cat and mouse with Gordon, I'd
look up and he was shooting. I was more
worried about Faul. I was running back and forth ... I can't believe
I did all that in thirty seconds ... I felt a cramp, but it was damp...
then it hurt a lot and I crawled down into the ditch... it was there I saw
Kapp, he was cresting the hill, he couldn't load the shotgun.
first of all I did't know anybody out there. I didn't know who was
who? After the shooting stopped I go, well, who won... who's going to come
walking over the ditch... do I shoot em or wait. After a few seconds I
saw Gordon walk up to the car and I could have shot him.
27/37...he laid it on me and I said I give up. Gordon came up and put
his gun on my neck
28:50 I am lucky to be alive today.
I'm convinced Gordan had a clean shot and me. He could have wasted me
and he didn't. .. the only thing I can think of why he didn't was he didn't
have a beef with local people, it was the federal people.
While I was at my house... I received a call asking whether the warrant
was still in service... they asked if I knew about a roadblock. I said
I hadn't.
...1/15 ...so it was right after that is when I called the people to
assemble at the fire station...1/29...
and went up there myself and had a briefing...now being a firefighter
myself, firefighters preplan almost everything that they do. and from that
standpoint...as it was I had to freelance and do my own preplanning. Preparing
for the worse. ...2/00...
at one time we looked out the front door and there was a roadblock being
set up by the elevator and the railroad tracks....and they were within a
block of a trailer court and the last thing we needed was a shootout within
a block of a trailer court and I truely expected some sort of a fire fight...2/30...
... I got on the radio and told them to move it out of town. And was told
there was no avenues of escape, which was wrong there again no preplanning
there was five avenues of excape...
3:00 these fed. people came in and wouldn't take the advice of a small
town cop. they paid dearly for that.
3:35 I ordered them to move the roadblock out of town...THAT I DIDN'T
WANT ANY SHOOTING IN my town...3/41
... I was very upset...first of all, 14 hours prior I was advised that
there would not be any arrest attempt made in our city by our sheriff's
dept. and all of a sudden here it was. ...and I was also told that I wouldn't
have to help and all of a sudden the federal marshals are calling for my
...so, that's a double whammy. I did help. After Schnable went to aid
them, I got on the radio and indicated that I would set up a roadblock to
keep innocent bystanders and any other traffice that was headed north on
that county road from going thru. ...
4/30...and while in the process of developing that, cordoning off that
area, a car made it past me and I followed him and proceeded up along side
of him and saw the situation...4/42(apx)... And noticed that there was a
potential for a hostage situation because these people had not wound up
where I thought they would at the roadblock, but instead they were...4/54...
...within about seventy feet of a trailer house. I contacted our fire
dept. dispatcher and had him call the people in the trailer house. because
I suspected a gunfight. About the time the phone rang at their house is
when the first shot went off...
5/17...so after the incident we had the ambulance that was on standby
haul Kapp to the Medina medical center. And the rescue squad and I crested
the hill and looked over the scene...5/34...as three vehicles went by...
5:40 we saw three vehicles crest the hill after the shooting... I thought
it was a police man taking someone to the hospital, I was shocked to come
over the hill and see them laying on the ground.
Takes the family out of the trailer...
darkness set in and it was really confusing...
I was still laying in the ditch... He looked at me, what are you doing
Hopson looked pretty bad. I guess I never really thought about it (leg).
GRAF: Now it makes sense to me, why I was suprised to see him at the
scene of the crime. ...
11:00 I think I was in shock for about three days, I don't think we'd
ever had a murder in our town... we were unprepared, for instance, press
officer... so when something like this happens info can be fed the public.
12:40 my dept. has been blamed for everything that went wrong...
13:00 ...Initially I went to these meetings to find out what was going
on. then it became an investigation of who are these people carrying rifles.
Rumors were we were on a hitlist.
14:40 there was some people we knew where we could hide out.
SS: it was questions, questions, question, I had a sleepless night or
17:40 the people blamed our dept. for causing this incident.
18:40 at one point... the US ATTny advised I not talk to media... this
newcrew arrived at the house and the reporter says you have him talk to
us or we'll crucify him.
It was Mareen Snider of WDAY in Fargo, the Bitch!
20:20 We had a couple juveniles shooting ... we stressed to them to
leave it alone. I grabbed em by their sht and put em against the wall,
and set them in their chair and asked, can't you leave them along ... the
mayor of our community drove a garbage truck and that gives you an idea
of what kind of mayor we had. ...
23:30 the mayor called us in and we were done, cut and dried. then
he gets on national TV and claims I'm hotheaded.
SS 25:00
I did find when I read the book that the events were out of order.
The thing that sticks out in my mind is where hopson runs up to the
station wagon... according to the book, he did that while we were
to me that's what, if any one was ready to shoot that was what would
set them off...
27:00 watching him move around, he made me jump... that's what made Yori
think his dad was in danger.
All I remember he was there and then he wasn't. (Muir)
I didn't know he was dead until I came out of the ditch after everything
was over...
Dick Blay, after hearing about the farm problems, that if he ws a farmer
out here, he'd be heading the group. It brings to light how people can
get hooked up with a group..
I didn't like...
29:45 well if may appear condradictory, but, at first I went for infor.
and then I was interested in who these people were.
00/35...Shortly after the shootout like the following sunday, there was
a Baptist minister who was a friend of ours. And, he had in his prayer service
a little prayer for the doctor of the community and myself for all the abuse
we were getting locally. And as a result, a local school supervisor was
so discouraged with the prayer he got up and left the church. A small church
of ten families can't afford to lose their biggest donator so the minister
had to take his prayer back...1/21...
and then the superintendent of schools came back to the church. Now
the minister didn't take it back voluntarily, but the regional church from
SD came to investigate and they thought that with the money that this individual
donates to the church that the minister should take his prayer back. So
that's some more...1/43...
of the abuse that we got locally over this incident, ...that's because
people didn't know what went on and belived whatever they wanted too...1/54...
...2/05...the US attnys that we dealt with were Crooks and Fisher and
they came to my house afterwards with the FBI and they told me that they
have unturned every stone and that the moves I made were right law enforcement
...and to have somebody with his clout and make that kind of statement,
it relieved some of the pressure...
....3/00...well D.Fisher doesn't like people that go up against the
...you know right where you stgand with him. There's no diplomacy, bam,
he's right on top of things...3/36...
...3/45...yea, this thing came back to haunt me, four years afterwards
when I was running for the 2nd VP of the firemen's assoc...there was hate
mail distributed...I took that to the US Attny and wrote letter saying there
is no doubt about my loyalty...

with interviews of...
Joan Kahl
Yorie Kahl
Lynn Crooks
Toots Mathis
Dennis Fisher
John Noah
Irv Nodland
Bill Kennelly
Prof. Ed Gran
Jack McLamb
Delores Everts
Scarlet Skiftu
Herman Widicker
August Pankow
Victor Seil
Marlys Klimek
Ron Perleberg
Len Martin
Brad Kapp
Robert Holiday
Tom Lee
Ed Fitzpatrick
Gene Nail
Buford Terrell
Marlene Gaysek
Bob Ralston
Darrel Graf
Steve Schnabel
Jack Swan
Loreen Dyck
Mark Stagg
Sheriff Ray Weatherby
Jack Miller
Tracy Adams
Allison Hoffman
Jeffrey F. Jackson
production design
Jim Haddon
Peter Lloyd
film editing
Tracy Adams
Martyn Hone
Jeffrey F. Jackson
original music by
Tracy Adams
sound department
Tracy Adams
Jeffrey F. Jackson
Rex Reddick
produced by
Jeffrey F. Jackson
Angela Kaye
writing by
Jeffrey F. Jackson
directed by
Jeffrey F. Jackson
A timeline of the life of Gordon Kahl, from early childhood interests, to his marriage to Joan Kahl, his decorated military experience, his outspoken tax protest, the Medina shootout, and his unusual death in Arkansas in 1983.
VARIETY /   Indie documaker Jeffrey F. Jackson sticks it to the IRS and the Feds in "Death & Taxes," a hard-hitting reinvestigation of the 1983 Gordon Kahl case, about which questions still linger. Jackson's unfazed, investigative reporting-style approach and inventive handling of familiar material make this a controversial item for fests and progressive webs. Non-U.S. viewers will also get a charge out of its conspiracy theme. read more
CHRONICLES MAGAZINE /   Gordon Kahl was a simple farmer who became famous for not filing income tax returns. Imprisoned and hounded by IRS agents who never did prove he owed any amount of money, Kahl and his son were involved in a shootout with police. The son is still serving a prison sentence, but the father was surrounded and shot in Arkansas by police officers who mutilated and burned his body. read more
GUNS & AMMO /   A new video documentary, Death & Taxes, details a case of government murderously out of control that was briefly mentioned in the October 1994 Guns & Ammo article "The Ugly Truth About Gun Control." Death & Taxes is the story of Gordon Kahl, a North Dakota farmer and decorated World War II veteran, and his apparent death at the hands of federal agents. read more
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Death & Taxes (DVD)
First time on DVD (113 min)
Death & Taxes (VHS)
This is a limited edition collector's VHS in the original unbroken packaging. (113 min)
Death & Taxes Miniseries (DVD)
Set of 6 DVD's comprising the complete uncut footage from the documentary film project. (783 min)
Gordon Kahl: Godfather of the militia movement
Now Available!
This set of 6 DVD's comprises over 13 hours of uncut footage, including a 2+ hour prison interview with Yorie Kahl, and candid interviews with wife Joan Kahl. In this rich stockpile of research, you'll find many more threads than could reasonably be pursued in the final feature.
The Death & Taxes Miniseries DVD Set Includes...
01: Gordon Kahl Meets With Head North Dakota U.S. Marshal Bud Warren (60 min)
02: The Beginning: Gordon Kahl's military experience and views on a variety of subjects (93 min)
03: Gordon's Texas Tax Trial (90 min)
04: Medina Shootout (60 min)
05: Gordon Kahl Was...: A montage of over 25 people describing who Gordon Kahl was in their eyes. (50 min)
06: Mysterious Death In Arkansas (90 min)
07: Media Circus: Chronological portrayal of Gordon Kahl in the media (70 min)
08: Yorie Kahl Prison Interview (150 min)
09: Joan Kahl Uncut Interviews (120 min)
The connection between Gordon Kahl, Timothy McVeigh, and the Oklahoma City Bombing
A little-known fact regarding Death & Taxes is the surprising connection to Timothy McVeigh and the ATF / Oklahoma City Bombing. Here's a clip of Jackson sharing the story during a director's commentary on his film Postal Worker.
Manhunt in the Dakotas
The story of Gordon Kahl so captured the attention of mainstream America that it was turned into a highly-rated made-for-television movie titled In The Line of Duty - Manhunt In The Dakotas.

DEATH & TAXES is the story of Gordon Kahl, a North Dakota farmer who became America's "most-wanted" fugitive. How had a WWII war hero become the target of one of the largest manhunts in FBI history? Gordon Kahl U.S. Marshalls Most Wanted Fugitive
Gordon Kahl's charred and burned remains were reexamined after his exhumation. The island of unburned skin shows that Kahl's body was likely positioned against the floor at the time he was set on fire.
The badly burned remains of Gordon Kahl, with an island of skin that shows he was in a prone position at the time of the fire.
Was Kahl a racist, gun-toting fanatic? Or a victim of an IRS policy of harassing vocal tax protestors into silence to keep the rest of us intimidated? Did Bill Clinton conspire to cover-up the torture and execution of Gordon Kahl in Arkansas? Did federal agents mutilate and burn the body to cover-up the murder of the wrong man?
DEATH & TAXES follows the trail of Gordon Kahl as his body is exhumed for a new autopsy. Building on newsreel clips covering two fiery shootouts and hundreds of interviews -- with IRS agents and federal prosecutors as well as Kahl's family and supporters -- D&T explores the myths and controversies surrounding a man who dared to challenge the federal income tax system. Some revile Kahl as a cop killer. Others revere him as an American patriot. Which was he?