December 31, 2015

JOHN L. STEPHENS | AGE: 32 | DIED: DECEMBER 5, 1967

PAUL J. RAYER | AGE: 51 | DIED: DECEMBER 5, 1967

Location: Council Bluffs

Police Officer John Stephens, 32, and Paul Rayer, 51, were shot and killed on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 1967, during a robbery of “Club 64,” an upscale steakhouse about a half-mile east of Council Bluffs’ city limits where Stephens moonlighted as a plain-clothes security guard. Robbery appeared to be the motive.

Officer Stephens was to accompany Rayer, the restaurant’s manager, to the Council Bluffs Savings Bank at about 2 a.m. after the business closed and daily receipts were counted. Both men’s bodies were found dead in the restaurant’s office about five hours later when a club employee arrived for regular clean up work. Each victim was shot multiple times. Evidence indicated that there were two shooters and the shooting was what police called a “gangland style slaying.”

About $1,500 was missing from the night’s receipts. There were no witnesses, and officers found no signs of forced entry. It was not known whether the assailants hid somewhere in the building or somehow gained entry after the dinner club closed. It was believed both men were shot to prevent their identification of the robbers, and authorities theorized Officer Stephens may have recognized the gunmen.

New evidence caused the case to be reopened in Missouri in 1987 but with no solid evidence authorities needed to make an arrest and pursue a conviction, the case went cold.