Painful memories resurface with 'T-Bone' Taylor's death - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Painful memories resurface with 'T-Bone' Taylor's death

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Travis Hoing was only 3 years old in 1981, when his father was murdered.

"I have five distinct memories of my father and two of them begin that night," Hoing said.

For Waterloo Police officers Michael Hoing and Wayne Rice, it was a routine call.

"It shows how dangerous law enforcement work is," KWWL anchor Ron Steele said. "They were answering a loud music call and ended up being killed, really, with their own weapon."

James Michael 'T-Bone' Taylor hit Rice on the head, took his service revolver, then shot and killed both officers.

"I just remember my news director at the time, the late Grant Price, called up and said, 'You better get in here because I think two of your friends are dead."

The house where it happened is gone now, but the shooting happened just a few blocks from the KWWL studios in downtown Waterloo.

'T-Bone' Taylor fled the scene, and said he wouldn't be taken alive. So, the manhunt began.

Steele remembers covering the story in the oppressive heat of July. He also remembers the fear.

"People were very scared during the week, because you have the cop-killer on the loose and a lot of people were arming themselves," Steele said.

Captain Tim Pillack of Waterloo Police served with the slain officers.

"Both great guys," he said. "Good family men. They were a lot of fun. We had a good time. They were hard-working officers."

Officer Hoing's son said he forgave Taylor long ago.

"It doesn't do any good to hate someone," Hoing said. "It doesn't do any good to dislike someone for this long."

When Taylor was finally found in a field near La Porte City, after days on the run, Steele remembers it as a triumph for the Cedar Valley's finest.

"I'll tell you what, I was surprised 'T-Bone' Taylor came out of that cornfield alive," Steele said. "But it shows the professionalism of the officers. They made sure he got to the jail, they made sure he got to the court hearing and justice was finally served."

But Taylor's death can't erase the memories of that week in July, 1981.

"It doesn't change anything," Hoing said. "It's just a chapter in a long book."

Taylor died of complications from an aortic aneurysm.

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