5/17/1974 - Though various imbeciles will continue to run around committing idiotic crimes in the name of fomenting a leftist revolution in the United States for a while longer, the brief run of the terrorist group, the Symbionese Liberation Army, comes to an abrupt and fiery end in Los Angeles, California (each cobra head of the group's selected symbol represents one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, the African-American celebration created by criminal professor Ron Everett in 1966, aka Maulana Karenga, of Cal State Long Beach ... unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith).
The SLA Symbol - A Seven-Headed Cobra
An army that never has more than a dozen soldiers or so, the organization arises out of deeply muddled thinking marrying black power concepts to lesbian feminist and anti-capitalist revolutionary demands. One black and a mix of young white men and women ... the group's core consists of the group's leader, escaped criminal thug, 30-year-old Donald David DeFreeze (he will take the name Field Marshal Cinque for the name of the man who took over the slave ship Amistad in 1839), 24-year-old Patricia Monique Soltysik (daughter of a pharmacist and student body treasurer of her high school, she will be called Mizmoon), Soltysik's lover, 29-year-old Camilla Christine Hall (aka Gabi, a Berkeley transplant from Minnesota), 23-year-old William Lawton Wolfe (aka Cujo, a doctor's son from Connecticut), Russell Little (aka Osceolo, a University of Florida dropout), 27-year-old Joseph M. Romero (aka Bo, an angry Vietnam war veteran), 26-year-old Nancy Ling Perry (aka Fahizah, barely 4'11," the tiny daughter of conservative parents with an English degree from Berkeley), married couple, William and Emily Harris (aka General Teko, another Vietnam veteran, a heavy LSD user, he has a master's degree in urban education <whatever that is> from the University of Indiana, while wife Yolanda is a sorority girl belonging to Chi Omega until meeting Harris at the University of Indiana), and 25-year-old Angela Atwood (aka General Gelina, a theater major actress friend of the Harris' from Indiana). The group comes into being when DeFreeze, serving a 5-to-15 year sentence at Soledad State Prison (for robbing a prostitute), walks away from his job in a boiler room that is located outside the institute's perimeter fence, and goes into hiding in San Francisco with a group of like minded knuckleheads.
DeFreeze Taking Bank Guard's Gun
Soltysik - Dos Pueblos High School
Camilla Hall As A Child
Nancy Ling Perry
Change the world for the better the goal, and as their first mission in doing that, the group decides to murder Marcus Aurelius Foster, a nationally known educator, for supporting a student identification program in the Oakland public school system to keep drug runners off campuses around the city (and for the mistaken thought they he is also in favor of a police presence at selected schools). Confronted by DeFreeze, Remiro, and Little (Remiro and Little will be caught in January of 1974, Remiro is still in for life, but after serving seven years, Little gets a retrial and is acquitted in 1981) in the dark parking lot of the Oakland Board of Education, on November 6, 1973, Foster is shot fatally eight times, five bullets in his back, two in his chest, and a round in the leg with hollow-point ammunition that had been filled with potasium cyanide, while the friend walking with him, deputy superintendent Robert Blackburn, is struck twice, but survives. Success perceived, the group decides their next mission will make an even bigger splash, with ransom their demands for a better world (and the release of their two arrested soldiers), they will kidnap newspaper heiress, Patricia Campbell Hearst.
Boyfriend Steven Weed And Patty Hearst
On February 4, 1974, the group grabs the Berkeley sophomore college student (she is studying art history) out of Apartment 4 at 2603 Benvenue Avenue ... sealing its doom. Headlines around the world, the group becomes the #1 take down priority for the FBI, and various law enforcement agencies around the country ... a status that only increases when the ransom, paid in the form of free food distribution in Oakland (authorities will not negotiate the release of Foster's killers), causes riots at four distribution points (100,000 bags of groceries will be handed out in a month), and not only is Hearst not released, but instead, joins the group as it's newest warrior, Tania (she will claim at her trial to being kept in a closet, threatened with death, bombarded with radical political rhetoric, and raped repeatedly by DeFreeze and Wolf), and helps DeFreeze and the others rob a Hibernia Bank in San Francisco on April 15, 1974 (they leave with over $10,000 in cash, two bank customers are shot, but both survive).
Perry With Automatic Weapon
Deciding the heat from law enforcement in the San Francisco area is growing too intense, the group has Black Muslim friends rent three vans, loads the vehicles up, and heads south for Los Angeles ... with no plans other than to set up a new base of operations (although DeFreeze is the only Afro-American, they rent a house in the black South Central part of the city where the white members of the group stick out like sore thumbs). Once in Los Angeles, it takes all of six days for them to stupidly get in trouble, alerting law enforcement that they are in the area. Taking on the task of buying supplies, the Harris' and Patty Hearst take one of the vans and drive to the nearby city of Inglewood for a stop at Mel's Sporting Goods Store ... William and Emily go inside, and Patty stays on guard with their ride. Items selected for purchase, William also takes a five-finger discount and stuffs a pair of socks in the pocket of his jacket. Seen, when the pair leaves the store, they are confronted by a security guard who demands the Harris' return to the store ... a demand which William responds to by pulling a revolver ... which the security man knocks away as he gets one handcuff on William's wrist before all hell breaks out in the parking lot as Patty opens fire with an automatic carbine on the store's sign and it's front windows. Everyone ducking to avoid the fusillade, the trio make their escape, but in doing so, are forced to abandon the van for another ride ... and in doing so, let law enforcement know the terrorist group is in the area (unable to contact DeFreeze and tell him that they have had trouble with the law, the Harris' and Hearst decide to hole-up in the least likely place they will be looked for, and where they can easily blend in, a tourist motel directly across the street from Disneyland) ... they tell the black man whose car they take that they are with the SLA, and inside the van, police will find a parking ticket that gives them an area to search for the group's latest hiding place. Searching, searching, searching, the next day FBI agents creep through the area and find the group's other two vans, and they receive several anonymous phone tips as to where several heavily armed individuals are hiding. House located (they have left their rental hiding place and have taken over the nearby home of 35-year-old Christine Johnson), by 4:20 a perimeter has been established around the area, and by 5:00, there are 127 FBI agents, two SWAT teams, members of the Los Angeles Fire Department, members of the California Highway Patrol, and over 400 police officers ready to engage (under the overall command of Captain Melvin King).
William & Emily Harris
Where Patty Watched
"Occupants of fourteen-sixty-six East Fifty-fourth Street, this is the Los Angeles Police Department speaking. Come out with your hands up. Comply immediately and you will not be harmed!" The announcement (it will be made eighteen times before there is no point any longer) is made over a bullhorn at 5:44 (all three networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC, will break into their regular programming to report live from the site) and initially brings only silence, but after a few minutes later, an old man, Johnson, and eight-year-old Tony Lewis come out. Night nearing, and with it the fear that the group might escape in the darkness, or that locals might attack some of the many cop targets in the area, nine minutes after the first surrender warning, at 5:53, a pair of Flite-Rite tear gas rockets are fired through the front window of Johnson's home and the battle is suddenly on (before the battle is over, 100 tear gas canisters will be fired into the house).
For over an hour, the group and the authorities exchange gunfire (the cops will fire over 9,000 rounds at the house, DeFreeze and his cohorts answer in the thousands themselves, but amazingly, never hit any police officers or innocent bystanders), then a brief lull takes place at 6:40 when smoke begins pouring out of the house (it is believed that the fire begins when a random bullet hits one of the Molotov cocktails Perry was making before the police arrived), and the cops once more ask for their antagonists' surrender. Denied with the firing of more bullets, the group cuts through the floor of the house to briefly escape from the smoke and heat, and take up firing positions in the structure's 18-inch crawl space (their comrades, the Harris' and Hearst, watch the whole thing from the TV in their motel room in Anaheim). End nearing as the house turns into a roaring inferno (three other homes will also catch fire and be turned to ash by morning), the first, and only, "soldiers" to try to escape are Perry and Hall ... coming out of a hole in the kitchen floor, Perry fires a pistol at officers in the alley, and is in turn fired on, with two police bullets killing her when they sever her spinal cord ... following, Hall comes out of the same hole and is instantly killed when a bullet hits her in the forehead.
The Fire Begins
South Central Los Angeles - 5/17/1974
Wanted Poster For Soltysik,
Hall, And Perry
At 6:58 the roof begins to collapse, and the pair of women become the only two members of the group to try for freedom ... dead from the flames, smoke, bullets, and being crushed by the wreckage of the house dying above, DeFreeze (the coroner will rule the leader's death a suicide), Soltysik, and Wolfe are found later in the rear corner of the crawlspace (with Atwood nearby), burnt to a crisp, human cinders with their gas masks melted on to their faces. Six core members gone, two more members in jail, though the Harris' and Hearst are free for more criminal adventures (there will be a 1975 bank robbery in which a customer, 42-year-old Myrna Opsahl, there to deposit church funds, is murdered with a shotgun by Emily Harris for moving too slowly when asked to drop to the floor ... asked later if she is upset by the killing, Harris will state she isn't, because "She was a bourgeois pig anyway."), for all intents and purposes, the Symbionese Liberation Army is thankfully, no more (found guilty of the Hibernia bank job, Hearst will be sentenced to seven years behind bars, but gets out after 21 months thanks to bleeding heart President Jimmy Carter, and then is fully pardoned by goofus President Bill Clinton ... and justice not really justice also, the Harris' serve short prison terms for the Hearst kidnapping, and for the Opsahl murder ... with William eventually getting remarried, having two children and becoming a private investigator in San Francisco, while Emily, becomes a lesbian and works as computer consultant in Los Angeles).
Hearst Mug Shot
Harris - Before & After
War In Los Angeles