Sequence of events in the shooting

By United Press International
March 27, 1985

The State Department sequence of events Sunday surrounding the death of Maj. Arthur D. Nicholson Jr. of the U.S. Military Liaison Mission to East Germany:

March 25:
  • 3:30 p.m. German time:  Nicholson and his driver, Sgt. Jessie G. Schatz, arrive at a point near Highway 191 just north of a restricted military zone near Schwerin in the northwestern part of the German Democratic Republic.  No Soviet troops are visible.  The two men are "monitoring Soviet military activities."
  • 3:50 p.m.: A single Soviet soldier appears from the forest, fires one shot at the marked U.S. Army sedan and then fires two or three other shots.  Nicholson is hit in the chest by one of the shots.  As he falls, he says to Schatz, "Jess, I've been shot."

  • When the shots are fired, Nicholson is some distance from the car and Schatz is in or near the vehicle and ducks when he hears the shots.
    The Soviet soldier is joined by several others, who keep Schatz from going to Nicholson's aid.  Schatz is ordered back to his vehicle.
  • 4:50 p.m.:  One hour after Nicholson is shot, a Soviet medical aid team arrives, but the major is dead.

  • Schatz is ordered by the Soviet soldiers to stay in his car.
  • 6:30 p.m.:  The U.S. Military Liaison Mission in Potsdam is informed by the Soviets of the shooting.  The first Americans arrive on the scene at 9:30 p.m.  Schatz is unable to leave his car until just before the other Americans arrive.

  • Nicholson's body is taken to West Berlin late Sunday and flown to Rhein-Main AB late Monday.
  • 6 a.m. EST:  President Reagan is awakened and briefed, about 16 hours after the shooting, by National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane.
  • 11 a.m. EST:  Oleg Sokolov, the second-ranking diplomat in the Soviet Embassy in Washington, arrives at the State Department to express regrets to assistant Secretary of State Richard Burt about the death.

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Thanks to B. Knight for this article.

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