Federal and state officials investigating Saturday's bloody attack on an anti-Klan rally in North Carolina arrested two more persons yesterday and said Ku Klux Klansmen and members of a local Nazi group were involved in the armed ambush.
The arrest yesterday of two members of the National Socialist Party of America near Winston Salem, N. C., brought to 14 the number of persons charged in the gun battle at the Greensboro, N.C. rally that left four persons wanted dead and 10 others wounded.
Cecil Moses, senior FBI agent investigating the shootout at the "Death to the Klan" rally, said the FBI had entered the case because the leftist Workers Viewpoint Organization, which was conducting the rally, had obtained a legal parade permit.
"The persons involved in the attack did not have a permit and that constitutes a civil rights violation which is a federal offense," Moses said. He said FBI director William H. Webster was briefed yesterday on the case and Webster ordered all manpower necessary to be used by the FBI.
Law enforcement sources said a dozen persons who attacked the rally were identified from license plate numbers and other information as Klan and/or Nazi members.They said it did not appear that the attackers,, who opened up on rally participants with shotguns and automatic weapons, were part of any organized plan.
Some civil rights groups yesterday complained that the shootings on Saturday were the result of lax efforts on the part of law enforcement officials to control the Klan, which has been experienceing a resurgence across the South. Federal offials have said that they have been hampered by new regulations prohibiting them from infiltrating Klan activites.
Both the Klan and the Nazi group have been active in North Carolina in recent months, according to law enforcement officials.
The officials said tension has been building between the two groups and the WVO, which is based in New York, since WVO members showed of the film "Birth of a Nation" at the little town of China Grove, N.C.
There was some scuffling but no gunplay," said a federal officail. "But this thing has been brewing ever since then. I think the attack was a last-minute thing after the WVO challenged the Klan on television."
Federal sources said that when a car and a van appraoched the rally, participants in the gathering shouted insults and began beating on the vehicles.
"Then the guys inside jumped out and the shooting broke out," said a federal source. "We know there was gunfire on both sides, there is no doubt about that."
The dead anti-Klan demonstators were identified as Sandy Smith of Piedmont, S.C. black woman, and Jim Waller, William Sampson and Ceasar Cauce, all white residents of Greensboro.
A dozen persons allegedly involved in the attack were charged under state law with four counts of murder each and one count of conspiracy. Two other persons at the rally were charged with lesser violations.
The attackers listed home addresses from a number of towns around North Carolina.
Harold Covington, head of the North Carolina Nazi chapter, said in an interview yesterday with the Associated Press that both Nazis and Klan members were among the attackers.
"I regret the fact that 12 good men are in prison facing murder charges," said Covington, of Raleigh, N.C. "as for the Reds, they are the scum of the earth and I don't care about them."
Leaders of several Klan organizations around the South yesterday disavowed any role in Saturday's shooting.
"I feel certain it was none of my people and if it was they won't be with me long," said "Bill Wilkinson, head of the Louisiana-based Invisible Empire of the Klu Klux Klan.
Wilkilson's group has been one of the most active throughout the South and has a North Carolina chapter. Invisible Empire members openly carry weapons at their rallies and were involved in a shootout in Decatur, Ala., earlier this year with black marchers that left four persons wounded.
"We're looking for public support and what happened in Greensboro certainly wasn't the way to get it," Wilkinson said. "I've checked and the Exalted Cyclops say we were not involved."
Joe Grady, another Klan leader of a group known as the White Knights of Liberty, from Winston-Salem, N.C., said he knew that at least one of the gunmen taken into custody was a Nazi leader in Winston-Salem.
It was not the Klu Klux Klan over there" said Grady. "It was the damned Nazis."
Another North Carolina Klan group, known as the Federated Knights of the Klu Klux Klan, had been challenged by the organizers of the "Death to the Klan" rally in Greensboro.
Police said yesterday that the Federated group had been active in Klan activities in the Greensboro area. The group's leaders split recently after some Klan leaders from the organization attended a Nazi rally.
Meanwhile, organizers of the Greensboro rally said they would hold a funeral demonstration for the four slain marchers.
"This time we're going to be armed," said Mike Young, a spokesman for the New York -- based Communist Workers' Party U.S.A. We're not going to be under the illusion that somebody else might not just drop by and open fire on us."