As the nation marks the 40th anniversary of the Kent State antiwar protests Tuesday, previously undisclosed FBI documents have emerged, showing that one or more gunshots may have been fired at embattled Ohio National Guardsmen that day in May 1970 before they killed four students and wounded at least nine others.
Fox News' James Rosen reported for the Washington Times that a review of hundreds of previously unpublished investigative reports show that the demonstrations that enveloped the northeastern Ohio campus actually began three days earlier in downtown Kent.
Reacting to President Nixon's expansion of U.S. military operations in Cambodia, a roving mob of antiwar activists, radicals and curious students and others smashed 50 banks and store windows, looted a jewelry store and hurled bricks and bottles at police.
The FBI's investigation uncovered reliable evidence that appeared to contradict a review that concluded the unrest on the streets -- the worst in Kent's history -- was "not an organized riot or planned protest."
Among the strongest pieces of evidence was a pre-dawn conversation -- never before reported -- between two unnamed men overheard inside a campus lounge later that night. Their discussion was witnessed by the girlfriend of a Kent State student and conveyed up the FBI chain of command 15 days later.
"We did it," one man exulted, according to the inquiry. "We got the riot started."
James Rosen joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1999. He currently serves as the chief Washington correspondent and hosts the online show "The Foxhole." His latest book is "A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century" (Crown Forum, October 4, 2016).