Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 6/2/2003 2:53:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/2/2003 2:54:29 PM EDT by SteyrAUG]
[url]http://www.laphs.com/june1999articles-2.htm[/url] What could be worse than the North Hollywood Bank Robbers? Radical 60-70's extremists. That's right "Liberals With Guns." Ban Liberals now before it's too late. W A N T E D - SYMBIONESE LIBERATION ARMY SUSPECTS By Gail Ryan, Newton Division May 22, 1974, the message from the Office of the Chief of Police read as follows, "A simple ‘thank you’ for successfully handling a very difficult mission doesn’t seem to be enough. Through the coordinated efforts of numerous Department elements, the Symbionese Liberation Army’s terrorist activities have been effectively defeated. Though you may hear a hue and cry from some about the tactics that were used, they are only a whisper in a roar of support. I want you to know, that as your Chief, I am proud of every one of you. The mission could not have been handled better. The SLA was responsible for setting the tone of this action and they are responsible for its result. I want to extend my personal gratitude to Assistant Chief Daryl Gates, Captain Mervin King, and members of SWAT, Metropolitan Division, the Criminal Conspiracy Section, Newton Division, Scientific Investigation Division and to all other personnel who directly or indirectly supported the accomplishment of this mission. Each of you has significantly contributed to maintaining the professional image of the Department." Signed: E.M. Davis, Chief of Police, City of Los Angeles. It’s hard to believe it has been twenty-five years since that violent Friday afternoon in May, 1974, that the City and Nation watched the live news coverage of the biggest shootout in LAPD history. The chain of events that set in motion the shootout between the SLA and the LAPD on May 17,1974 began in Berkeley, California on February 4, 1974. Patricia Campbell Hearst, daughter of Randolph and Catherine Hearst, was in her apartment with her boyfriend, Steven Weed, when members of the SLA broke in and kidnapped her. After Patricia was kidnapped, a series of tape recordings were received from the SLA. In these recordings, Patricia asked her father to grant the SLA’s ransom demand of supplying food to the poor. The basic philosophy and ideals of the SLA were rooted in terrorist revolutionary concepts. The intent behind the SLA’s actions was to create revolutionary uprisings among "oppressed" people. Beginning in the San Francisco area, their plan was to eventually involve the entire United States. They intended to draw attention to their cause and enlist supporters by committing crimes against the "Establishment" such as murder, kidnapping and robbery. After their demand in the Hearst kidnapping had been met, (Mr. Hearst had 2.3 million dollars worth of free food distributed in the San Francisco and Oakland Bay Areas) the SLA announced that they would free Patricia. As the time for her release drew near, a tape recording was delivered to a Berkeley radio station. In this recording Patricia stated, "I have been given the choice of being released in a safe area or joining the forces of the Symbionese Liberation Army and fighting for my freedom and the freedom of all oppressed people. I have chosen to stay and fight." The "victim" had now become the "fugitive." The SLA had been active in terrorist crimes in the Bay Area prior to Patricia Hearst’s kidnapping. They were next heard from on April 15, 1974, when they executed a well planned bank robbery of the Hibernia Bank in the Sunset Beach district of San Francisco. Patricia Hearst, armed with a .30 caliber carbine was identified as one of the suspects. Other SLA members identified in the robbery were Donald DeFreeze, Nancy Ling Perry, Patricia Soltysid and Camilla Hall. The robbery netted the SLA $10,960. Two innocent bystanders were wounded by a burst of automatic weapon fire from Donald DeFreeze as the group left the bank.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 2:55:20 PM EDT
The SLA surfaced in the Los Angeles area on May 16, 1974, when SLA members, William and Emily Harris entered Mel’s Sporting Goods Store in Inglewood. In a foiled shoplifting attempt, William pulled a two-inch revolver from his waistband and pointed it at one of the store employees. The gun was wrested from his hand, and an attempt was made to handcuff William. The clerk succeeded in placing one handcuff on the suspect’s left wrist, when he heard the sound of gunfire. From across the street, a female was shooting an automatic rifle from the driver’s window of her car. As the store windows shattered, everyone in the store hit the floor. During the gunfire, the couple escaped, forced another couple out of their vehicle, and later took an 18-year old boy hostage, along with his vehicle in Lynwood. The female shooting the rifle was "Tania" aka: Patricia Hearst. The Harris’s eventually let the boy go free in the Hollywood Hills, and took another male hostage, along with his vehicle. Six hours later, they let this second male go free in Griffith Park. Sparked by mounting evidence of SLA presence in the LA area, the FBI turned its investigation to a parking citation found in an abandoned SLA van. It had been issued on May 13, 1974, in front of 835 W. 84th St. An early morning raid of the location on Friday, May 17, 1974, by both the LAPD and the FBI was fruitless, as far as suspects go, but three suitcases containing gas masks, women’s wigs and handbags, SLA literature, shotgun ammunition, a shortwave radio and medical supplies were recovered from inside the house. The two vans used by SLA members, parked in the area during the prior week were gone. After the command post at 82nd Street and Vermont had been deactivated, two SWAT team members returned to their regular uniformed crime suppression assignment in the Newton Street Area. At approximately 1220 hours, the officers observed two vans parked at the rear of 1451 East 53rd St. Both vans matched the description given at the debriefing earlier in the day. In order to conceal police presence, two undercover officers were assigned to check the vans for identification numbers and registrations. While looking for the ID numbers, the officers discovered that the keys had been hidden in both vehicles. The vans’ registration numbers returned to nonexistent addresses in the Bay Area. A chain of events had now started that would end in a shootout and the fiery death of six people. Around the same time, an anonymous phone call came into the Newton Police Station. A woman stated that several Caucasian females and males were staying at her daughter’s house at 1462 E. 54th St., and that they had numerous handguns and rifles. This call confirmed the whereabouts of the SLA. Then another anonymous phone call to Newton Station informed police that two Caucasian females had been seen sneaking their way through the back yards of a Black neighborhood to 5311 S. Compton Ave.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 2:56:05 PM EDT
At 1600 hours on May 17 , 1974, more than 410 officers of the Los Angeles Police Department, under the command of Captain Mervin King, along with the FBI, CHP, and LAFD established a command post at 57th and Alba Ave. The next three hours would become historic. Despite evacuation warnings, the residents of 1451 East 54th and 5337 Compton Ave. refused to leave their homes, and were directed by SWAT team members to lie on the floor. These people remained in their homes throughout the gunfight. Many of them found themselves pinned down by heavy gunfire. As the battle progressed, some of these people changed their minds, and during lulls in the gunfire, were then evacuated. At 1745 hours, the squad leader of SWAT Team One used a bullhorn to broadcast, "Occupants of 1466 E. 54th St., this is the Los Angeles Police Department speaking. Come out with your hands up!" A small child walked out, along with an older man. The man claimed no one else was in the house, though the child stated that several people were in the house with guns and ammo belts. At 1753 hours, after several failed attempts to get anyone else to leave the house, a member of SWAT fired two 509 CS Flite-rite tear gas projectiles through the top of the west window. As soon as the second gas projectile dispersed, heavy bursts of automatic gunfire came from inside the front and rear of the house. Numerous bullets struck 54th St. and the buildings across from and to the rear of the SLA hideout. The gun battle continued, with very heavy automatic weapons fire coming from inside the house. The SWAT teams continued to respond to this fire with semiautomatic weapons, shotguns and tear gas. When a SWAT officer attempted to fire another round of tear gas into a window from a nearby roof, he was met with heavy machine gun fire from inside the house. More tear gas was fired. At 1841 hours, the house was on fire. A broadcast pleads, "Come on out! The house is on fire! You will not be harmed." There was no response. The house became fully engulfed in flames, and two women left from the rear of the house and one came out the front. All were taken into custody, but were found to not be part of the SLA. At 1850 hours, the SWAT team started receiving automatic weapons fire from air vents in the foundation of the house. Nancy Ling Perry, wearing military fatigues with a hunting knife attached to a web belt, comes out of a crawl hole. A second female, Camilla Hall, starts to emerge from the crawl hole, firing an automatic pistol toward members of SWAT. At this time, automatic weapons fire is still coming from the crawl hole behind Camilla Hall. Members of Swat fire in the direction of Camilla Hall and she drops to the ground and is dragged back through the crawl hole, out of view. Nancy Ling Perry falls approximately ten feet from the crawl hole. At 1859 hours, the squad leader of Team One informs the Fire Department that the hostile fire from 1466 E. 54th Street had ceased. He then requests that the Fire Department move their equipment to the scene of the incident. At 1900 hours, after hostile fire had ceased, and while ammunition is still exploding inside, the Fire Department began extinguishing the fire at the location and at the three adjacent residences. All fires were out by 1930 hours. After the shooting had ceased and the fire had been extinguished, the task of locating evidence and removing bodies from the burned residence fell on investigators from Scientific Investigation Division, Criminal Conspiracy Section, the FBI, and the LA County Coroner’s Office. The locating, collecting and identification of evidence at the site began immediately after the removal of the fifth body on May 17th, and continued until May 19th. On May 19th at 0945 hours, investigators sifting through ashes and rubble, discovered a sixth body. Tons of debris had to be sifted, and every area searched in order to recover possible evidence. As the search progressed, it became evident that the SLA members had armed themselves with a veritable arsenal of weapons. Nineteen firearms, including rifles, pistols, and shotguns were recovered from the burned structure. As the parents of Patricia Hearst waited and prayed that their daughter wasn’t among the dead, the LA County Coroner’s Office began the task of identifying the bodies. Coroner Thomas Noguchi personally phoned Patricia’s tycoon father to assure him that his daughter was not among the dead. The other SLA members’ parents had to learn of their children’s deaths from Dr. Noguchi’s press conference. The dead SLA members would later be identified as: Nancy Ling Perry, age 26; Angela Atwood, age 25; William Wolfe, age 23; Donald DeFreeze aka: Cinque, age 30; Patricia Soltysik, age 24; and Camilla Hall, age 29 years. The seventies had been the "Age of Aquarius," social activists, anti-Vietnam War protestors, political and civil rights activists, the Chicago Eight and the SLA. Twenty-five years later, the racially mixed SLA is still remembered for the night they went out in a "blaze of glory" for their beliefs, in one of the most dramatic police confrontations in the annals of police history. The SLA, which had holed up unnoticed in the Bay Area, met their "Waterloo" in South Central Los Angeles, when "rich white girls with guns" running through alleys stood out, fatally blowing their cover. Patricia Hearst and the Harris’s eventually would be caught in San Francisco’s Mission district on Sept. 18, 1975. Following an eight-week trial for bank robbery and weapons charges, Patricia was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison, a sentence ultimately commuted by then President, Jimmy Carter. She married her bodyguard, a San Francisco policeman, became a housewife and mother and tried to slip quietly into history. Her mother, Catherine, who had been targeted by an assassin in June 1972, divorced Patricia’s father in 1978. On December 30, 1989, one month short of twenty-five years after her daughter’s kidnapping, she died. A few weeks later, FBI Agent Bates, who was in charge of the San Francisco investigation, died. Lt. Joe Sonlitner, in charge of SWAT, had already passed away on November 4, 1977. The bomb and ammunitions expert, Detective Arleigh McCree, was killed on February 8, 1986, in a bomb explosion. LAPD’s Chief of Police, Ed Davis, would retire and become a California State Senator. Ass’t. Chief Gates became Chief. Captain King, who was in charge of the SLA investigation, retired. Newton Division’s watch commander that night, Lt. Pat McKinley, went to SWAT and eventually became Chief of Police in Fullerton, California. Of course, the house at 1466 E. 54th St. is gone, and all that remains is a palm tree in a vacant lot and ghosts.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 4:59:38 PM EDT
Heard by a L.A. cop outside the SLA home that burned down after being hear gassed: Know what SLA stands for? So Long Assholes Jay
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 5:05:36 PM EDT
... Granted, I was young then, but I never believed for a minute that Patty "they forced me to hold a machine gun" Hearst was ever kidnapped. [/sidetrack]
Top Top