A man the FBI thought was dead recalls details of 1960 Louisiana murders

Published: May 10, 2022

By: Liz Ryan

Photo lllustration by Louisiana Illuminator

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Not a day has passed during the past 62 years that Willie Gibson hasn’t thought of Louisiana and the horrific shootings in Monroe that left four of his friends and co-workers dead and a fifth seriously wounded.

Gibson is the last living witness involved in the events that led to the killings by Robert Fuller, who ran a sanitation business and later became a Ku Klux Klan leader.

And in an interview at his home here, Gibson described publicly for the first time how tensions had boiled over on a job site the day before the shootings in 1960, why he was not there when the shootings occurred and how he fled to New York for his own safety.

Gibson, now 80, provided further support for the idea that Fuller’s eldest son William A. Fuller, who had hit Gibson in the face with a shovel the day before, was involved in the shootings.

His account also shows how shoddy the FBI’s efforts to investigate the case many years later were.

During that investigation, which began in 2007, FBI agents mistakenly thought Gibson was the man who had been wounded in the attack. They also did not spend much time looking for him, apparently believing a witness who said Gibson was dead.

Gibson said he believes that Robert Fuller, who claimed he was acting in self-defense, lied about being the lone shooter. Gibson also said that Charles Willis, the man who actually was wounded, told him later that Bill Fuller, then 19, had had a gun and helped shoot the men.

The FBI, which could have learned much from Gibson and other witnesses it failed to find, never investigated Bill Fuller, who was still alive when the bureau closed the case in 2010.

Read more at Louisiana Illuminator

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