The Ultimate Sacrifice: 35 Years Later This week, the San Diego and Cleveland Chapters of the Society will join the FBI for concurrent memorial services to honor three FBI Service Martyrs. On Thursday, August 9, 1979 - 35 years ago - two horrific events unfolded over 2,000 miles apart. That day, we lost three Agents in what was among the darkest day in FBI history. Special Agents Charles W. Elmore, Johnnie L. Oliver, and J. Robert Porter were killed that day in the line of duty.
SA J. Robert Porter
SA Charles W. Elmore
SA Johnnie L. Oliver
President’s Response - August 2014
These men – these heroes - made the ultimate sacrifice while upholding their oaths of office. The oath states in part:
"…I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States
against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;
and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
So help me, God."
In San Diego’s El Centro Resident Agency, Bob Porter and Chuck Elmore started that day like any other in the office. When the buzzer rang shortly before 9:00 a.m., they were expecting a man who wanted to talk about a Freedom of Information Act request. Bob answered the door to see James Maloney with a shotgun leveled at him. Bob deflected the barrel up with the first shot going into the ceiling and doorframe. Bob tackled the shooter in the hallway and, as they wrestled, Maloney pulled out a .38 caliber pistol and shot him three times. As this was going on, Chuck pulled his gun and ran to the doorway. He exchanged shots with the Maloney, hitting him in the chest. After being hit, Maloney kept firing and hit Chuck twice, killing him instantly. Before Maloney died from Chuck's shots, he committed suicide.
Chuck Elmore was 34 years old when he died, and Bob Porter was 44. Chuck was born in Seattle, Washington, and entered on duty as a Special Agent in 1972. In 1978, he was assigned to the El Centro Resident Agency. His mother and an uncle survived him. Bob was born in Heber, Arizona, and entered on duty as a Special Agent in 1967. He was assigned to the San Antonio Field Office, before joining Chuck in El Centro in 1978. His wife, four daughters, and a son survived him. Bob’s son, Kenneth, went on to become an Agent and he retired in 2012.
Hours later in Cleveland, Johnnie L. Oliver would also lose his life that day, doing the job he loved. Johnnie was a SWAT member who, along with five other agents, went to a house to apprehend a fugitive. Melvin Bay Guyon was wanted for kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery. Johnnie and another Agent went through the front door, while the other four Agents remained outside. Armed with a revolver, Guyon immediately shot Johnnie, killing him instantly. Guyon escaped through the front window and was immediately placed on the FBI's Top Ten List. He surrendered a week later, after a short gun battle with FBI Agents in Youngstown, Ohio. He was convicted for Special Agent Oliver's murder and received a life sentence.
Johnnie Oliver was 35 when he died. He was born in Karnak, Illinois. After working for the FBI as a file clerk, and serving two years in the military, he became a Special Agent and assigned to Philadelphia. In 1972, he was transferred to Cleveland.
Author Albert Pike wrote, "What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is, immortal." This week, we remember the sacrifice of three of our own, and their families, and what they sacrificed for us.