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Cruisers were now converging on County Road 25, swarming toward the area where Bishop and Martin had been shot. But the law officers' weapons (mostly shotguns) were no match for the deadeye marksman's SKS as he riddled no fewer than seven vehicles. It was later estimated that the terrorist riding the flatbed got off 300 rounds without a cop or sheriff firing a single shot. (It would also be noted, and puzzled over at length, that the gunman fired only at officers in uniform, sparing any number of "civilians" such as Paul Ibarra who had had the bad luck to get caught up in the chase.)

The fugitives regained the intersection with County Road G, hung a lurching left, burst across Highway 160 just before a roadblock could be set up, and barreled down McElmo Canyon. A chase that would last 54 miles was on, though the pursuers were so addled by the assault that the gap between them and the bad guys stretched from half an hour to more than an hour.

Thirty-nine miles into the getaway, just across the Utah line, the flatbed turned off County Road G toward Hovenweep National Monument. The superintendent of the monument, tipped off by radio, foolishly went out on the highway unarmed. As soon as the truck appeared in the distance, a spray of bullets whizzed by him. Diving behind his car, the man was fortunate to emerge unscathed.

At Cahone Lake, the flatbed turned left on an obscure dirt track that leads to Cross Canyon. Two miles on, the road snakes down into a willow- and cottonwood-choked arroyo. And here, at last, the fugitives abandoned their vehicle, after camouflaging it with branches and leaves. The men then set off westward on foot.

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  • Also, why did the fugitives steal a water truck? I think they did so that the law would come after t…
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