I was saddened to learn this morning of the passing of one my childhood heroes, former-FBI Agent, Brazos County District Attorney's Investigator, and head of the Texas A&M Police Department, Bob Wiatt. The article about him in my hometown paper can be found here and the Chronicle's article here.
To say that Mr. Wiatt (I could never actually get to the point of feeling myself worthy to call him by his first name) had a legendary career
would be a massive massive understatement.
As a rookie FBI Agent, one of his first cases was doing some of the legwork on the Kennedy Assassination. He later went on to work on the murders of three Civil Rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi that was more commonly known as the Mississippi Burning case, and he was there when they discovered the workers' buried car.
In 1969, he assisted in the rescue of Texas DPS Trooper Kenneth Crone, who had been kidnapped by Robert Dent and Ila Fae Holiday. He and the local sheriff both fatally wounded Dent during the rescue. The incident was later the basis of Steven Sielberg's first movie, The Sugarland Express. Goldie Hawn played Ila Fae.
During the 1974 Huntsville Prison Riots led by Fred Gomez Carrasco, he was brought in at the request of the Governor and helped break up the riots, getting himself shot in the process. Harris County's own Bert Graham would become the special prosecutor on the surviving inmates who had committed capital murder during the riots.
When I first met him, I was just a kid, and I idolized him. He knew that, and I think it amused him.
Some kids worshipped NFL or MLB players. I worshipped a retired-FBI agent.
When I was in college, he let me interview him for a history paper about his career in law enforcement, and it was probably two of the most interesting hours I ever spent. I think I still have the micro-cassette recording of it in my lockbox.
He was an amazing man who had an amazing career. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to know him.