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The Radical Story Of Patty Hearst. Aired 9-10pm ET

Aired February 18, 2018 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We kidnapped a freak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, where's Patty, where's Patty? He said they took her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to see how far we can motivate them to do what we wan want.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do what they say, dad. Just do it quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this case had become media frenzy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hearst was truly afraid that his daughter was going to get killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were now interested in reeducating me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She desperately did not want to go home. You want to do this, you're probably going to die.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have chosen to stay and fight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It completely changed everything.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst was abducted by two men and a girl in a bizarre kidnapping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No ransom note, no phone calls, no word, nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The SLA is the people's army and we fight in their interests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI said the girl in the wig with the automatic rifle was Patricia Hearst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rich college girl turned armed terrorist in a matter of weeks. Southern California's largest manhunt continues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For someone my age, I've been through an awful lot. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know where she is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Regardless of whether Patricia Hearst meant what she said or was forced to say it, there does seem to have been a profound change in her since the kidnapping.


BILL HARRIS, FORMER SLA MEMBER: Watching talking heads report on this, they were stunned.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was she forced to say it or has Patricia Hearst heeded and previous messages as she become to be converted by the revolutionary education her kidnappers have been giving her all these weeks?


HARRIS: Propaganda effect was almost hilarious. You know what I mean, it was amazing. No one expected that.


RANDY HEARST, PATTY HEARST'S FATHER: We've had her 20 years. They've had her 60 days. I don't believe that she's going it change her philosophies that quickly.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a novel that was being told every day. Part of it was a rag tag group of radicals and someone from American nobility. It was poverty, which they were showing, and great wealth.

It was also about young people fighting against the establishment. It was an ongoing drama, and it was unresolved.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: The story of the SLA especially the beginning is tactical victories, strategic incoherence because they successfully kidnapped Patty Hearst. They successfully organized the food delivery. They successfully recruit her to be one of their own. Those are all real victories, but to what end?

HARRIS: We've already stunned everybody by her claiming that, you know, now she's on our side. We had to prove that.

Thinking about it now, we were broke. We didn't have any money. We were down to the nubs.

Now we had another mouth to feed forever. We had to plan some type of an expropriation. We decided we'll wrap it all into one and that we would find a bank with video cameras recording everything. Back then, video security systems were new. So we found a bank that had video cameras, Hibernia Bank. It was nerve racking. I wish we didn't have to rob banks. I would rather not rob banks. You know, it was not that much fun. But it was necessary.

And Patricia wanted this too. She insisted on being in this the assault team. That means that's the crew going in the bank doing the actual robbery. She was carrying an M1 carbine that was not adapted for fully automatic fire. She was trained enough in it to be able to use it effectively.

Me, Emily, and Willy, we were situated across the street in case anything went down that we had to respond to. Most of the comrades were in the bank. (INAUDIBLE) disarmed the security guy, Mizmoon hit the tills. Everybody else was making sure everybody else kept their heads down.

Patty was front and center.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looked like she was ready to shoot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was ready to shoot anything that got in the way or moved. She just said anybody that put their head up, they would get their head blown off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She said that herself?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get the impression she would have used that gun?



[21:05:04] HARRIS: Who would have thunk that Patricia Hearst, a few months after she's kidnapped would be robbing a bank as a revolutionary act.

JASON MOULTON, RETIRED FBI AGENT: That bank robbery surveillance photograph was pretty indicative of what happened and that was Patty Hearst had participated in an armed bank robbery of the Hibernia Bank.

BRYAN BURROUGH, AUTHOR: At that moment, this one line story about an heiress who've been kidnapped by crazy revolutionaries on the 60s changed in the blink of an eye with that photo of Patty with a gun in that bank. There was initially in those first couple days some debate. She must have been forced to do it.

STEVEN WEED, FORMER FIANCE OF PATRICIA HEARST: Seeing Patty in the bank with a gun if it submitted anything she's being disgraced and manipulated and coerced in a theatrical cruel way. HARRIS: Patricia's performance in that bank robbery only solidified what we already suspected about her somewhat of a revolutionary savant. We kidnapped a freak.

People freeze in certain situations. Patricia Hearst is not the kind of person that freezes ever. I think she was spectacular. And I think it was obvious, it was obvious DeFreeze.

Everybody had a side arm and her performing admirably in a bank robbery gets her the gun that was originally the side arm of the security guard at the Hibernia Bank. Now she has a side arm as well.

Patricia was a hundred percent equal member in this cell. She had the same responsibilities we did. We weren't making her do anything against her will. At that point, it was against her will to go home.


CATHERINE HEARST, PATTY HEARST'S MOTHER: You're still a kidnap victim. She was taken away against her will. And psychologically, she's a victim of thought control by terrorists. And all I can do is hope and pray that God will bring her home again.


HARRIS: After observing her mother Catherine suggest that she had been a subject or victim of mind control, she was offended by it because it was another conflict between her and her mom, and she wanted to prove her wrong.


PATRICIA HEARST, KIDNAPPED AND INDOCTRINATED BY THE SLA: Greetings to the people, this is Tania. On April 15th, my comrades and I expropriated $10,660.02 from the Sunset branch of the Hibernia Bank. I was positioned so that I hold customers and bank personnel who are on the floor. My gun was loaded and at no time did any of my comrades intentionally point their guns at me.

After being brainwashed, the idea is ridiculous to the point of being beyond belief. For those people that still believe I'm brainwashed or dead, I see no reason to further defend my position. I'm a soldier in the people's army. Patria o Muerte, Venceremos.



[21:12:01] TOOBIN: The Patty Hearst story was a huge national story from the day of the kidnapping. But what made it even bigger was that Patty Hearst turned her back on her life of privilege. And she became a metaphor for young people in America everywhere. People given opportunities, given the promise of America and deciding instead to turn against it and even overthrow it.

CAROL POGASH, JOURNALIST OF SF EXAMINER, REPOTER, 1974: There were posters, people supported her. Not just in Berkeley, but elsewhere. So there was sort of a romance about it. It took on a life of its own.

TOOBIN: As embarrassing as this situation was to the FBI after the kidnapping, it was much worse after the robbery of the Hibernia Bank because here you had a half dozen people showing off for the cameras in broad daylight.


CLARENCE KELLEY, FBI DIRECTOR: We have just almost turned that area upside down. I'm going to make an admission, which hurts. We don't know where she is.


HARRIS: The robbery was successful. We're happy that we got some money. But it was the subdued scene in many ways. With few resources, we had to figure out what we were going to do next. We couldn't just sustain this for very long if we had to rob banks all the time to live.

We had had the police and every jurisdiction in the Bay area wanting to be the ones that caught us or killed us. Police were mobilized not only to deal with us, but they were dealing with these Zebra killers, you know.

TOOBIN: The Zebra killings were some of the most notorious crimes in American history. You had a group of black Muslims and they grabbed people off the street and not only murdered them, but torture some of them solely because they were white. All of this was going on while the kidnapping was happening putting San Francisco in something close to complete panic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shootings began last night around 7:30 in the Haight-Ashbury District. By 10:00 p.m. four persons lay dead, all white.


HARRIS: Cops were doing to stop and frisk. And so black males walking down the street it and if a cop rolled by, they would stop them and put them on the wall freeze them to make sure they didn't have weapons or whatever. Defreeze didn't go outside at all with this kind of situation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pigs and the fascist media held by their slick trickery attempted to link the SLA with the so-called Zebra killings. The next lie that we expect to hear is that we are the Zebra killer and this would be to give even greater pig justification to continue that harassment and disarming of the people.


HARRIS: We realize that we just have to get the hell out of there. That was not a cool place to be.

[21:15:04] Patricia was encouraged to reconsider going home. She already robbed a bank and burned a number of bridges with that. It wasn't impossible for her to wiggle out of that one. You might survive it. It might be better for us to not have you with us. She hated that idea. We couldn't go on living as nine people in a cell. The only way to really do it is do it was to do in a groups of threes.

I'd hope Emily, me and Angelo that can do this together but it didn't work out.

In the end, Emily and I got stuck with Patricia. I think it was Defreeze, Angela and Camilla and Nancy, Willy and Mizmoon. So we went to L.A. Defreeze was familiar with it. He lived there. None of the rest of us had ever lived there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Acting on a tip, the FBI raided an apartment in San Francisco and once again found Itself a few steps behind the SLA. Inside authorities found the keys

to one of the getaway cars used in a recent bank robbery and the clothes supposedly worn in the same hold up. According to the apartment manager, the group moved out a week ago.


HARRIS: When we went to L.A., we only had time to get one place so that we could regroup and then we move out to our other parts of the country. Mizmoon and Nancy were able to snag a house on a first street in the ghetto, which was ridiculous it was like six women and one black guy and two white guys and it just looked peculiar.

We decided to send one of the teams and it was decided it would be me, Emily and Hearst and get some gear that we needed before we split up. And it just so happens that one of the vans got an illegal parking ticket. We took the ticket with us to pay. Patricia and Emily and I had all of our weapons, all of our ammo in case something happened while we were gone we had everything that we needed.

One of the places that we went to get some supplies was male supporting us through Inglewood. And the plan was that Patricia, she would remain in the van. The keys to the van were in the ignition. She was under no special controls and we trusted her. Emily and I go in the store and grab a bunch of stuff that we were going to purchase. And she wanted to leave she could have managed that easily. She could have escaped if she wanted to.

So what happened was this. In one point, I saw a shotgun bandoleer and Emily's weapon of choice was a 12 gauge shotgun and the shotgun would hold like five or six rounds. So, I thought there would be a good idea to get her this shotgun bandoleer where she can order to hold about 25 rounds. And then all of a sudden I got paranoid. I was nervous about buying bandoleers it was a combat bandoleer and so I was nervous about buying it and I set it back down. Everything is smooth and we're getting ready to leave. We pay $30, $40. And as I'm walking out the door this young black guy comes up behind me and yells, hey, Bill. And I believed to my very fibers he is referring to me. And my heart starts racing. I turn around and he says, sir, I need you to come back inside. I need to search you.

Turns out his boss is a guy Named Bill Hewitt, I think. And so he's calling his boss to back him up. He saw me at with the bandoleer and he didn't see me put the bandoleer back on the shelf. I ain't going back in the store. No way.

This guy Bill Hewitt and a black kid they jump on me and we're rolling in the gutter. And before I know it, I was one handcuff on my left wrist. Patricia looks up. I figured, you know, she's going to lay low because nothing she can do. We're busted.


[21:23:00] HARRIS: We're on the part of the street. In the few seconds that I'm resists, Patricia looks up, you know, what she going to run over and rescue us? She got the keys in the van. I assumed she laid low and go fade back to the safe house. She was decisive.

The first rounds hit right next to my head. I thought I was going to get shot. She was aiming really close to us. She didn't hold the barrel steady. She fired off the rest of the rounds of that magazine and then she picked up her weapon and started firing rounds from the third round clip that she had in that weapon.

The kid is hiding behind me, you know, and holding onto me and I told her I said you better get out of here. He says, right. As soon as he leaves me, Emily and I get up and haul ass and run across in pure highway and get in the van. The black kid, he pulls out a 32. He starts shooting at us and this guy is insane.

Last thing I ever expected when I'm about to be arrested is that she is going to rescue me. Patricia Hearst had more balls than anybody I've ever known. She saved my [bleep] life. And she didn't have to. We get in the van, and we try to haul ass in a VW bus. And it's taking forever. We come upon almost immediately like a Pontiac. It looked like a nice car.

The guy in the driver's seat he was a large man and I say look but I really I hate to do this but I got to take your car. And he looks up at me and says you taking my [bleep] car. And I'm going, oh God, what are guys that you don't like this I can't beat this guy up because he's too big. Emily she rags around in her shot gun and she says, "Get out of the [bleep] car, please".

[21:25:09] We immediately try to get everything out of the VW van and put it into the Pontiac and we took off. We hadn't gone but a block and a half and the car just absolutely stops. Holy shit. And right here in front of me, two black men standing in the driveway and I say to them, look, I'm really sorry, gentlemen, but I need to take your car. We're with the SLA and the cops are chasing us.

We assumed that we revealed ourselves to be the SLA after the full program and everything that people would feel calm that it would realize that, you know, as approaching them was not an aggressive act. He looks at me and goes, oh sure. He reaches in and gives me the keys to his car.

So we get our stuff from the Pontiac and we move that into this car. We left, we made it out of there, we beat the cops out of there and we're gone.

TOOBIN: The shootout at Mel's is for me, the single most important piece of evidence that Patty Hearst had joined the SLA. Patty Hearst is no longer a captive, but she's a participant in the terrorism of the SLA.

WEED: I know a lot of people made a big thing of the fact that she sprayed no sporting goods with bullets which she could have jumped in the car and gotten away. I don't think that's as definitive as other people do. It's not that simple. But she had changed. On some level, she thought she was Tania.

HARRIS: By this time, this is three or four hours since the authentication at Mel's and we knew we couldn't go back to the safe house. We're driving in a stolen car. We couldn't keep driving around so we had to figure out another way.

TOM MATTHEWS, KIDNAPPED BY PATTY HEARST: In 1974 I was 18 years old. I was a senior in high school. I had Ford Econoline van for sale. About 7:00 Thursday night and the door knock on my front door and it was the woman wanting to test drive my van. So I said, sure I just tossed her the keys I got in the passenger's seat. We just drove one block and turned right and then she stopped. And she said can my friends come along. All I notice is William Harris getting out of the car because as he got out, there was something bulging out of his jacket. Open up his coat in shown he had an machinegun said they were the SLA and they needed to borrow my van. But as soon you but as soon as he said SLA I knew who they were.

Patty got in the van behind William Harris and he pointed to her, he said, "You know who this is?" I shook my head no. I didn't recognize her. She had a black curly wig on but he said "This is Tania" and he kind of smiled.

HARRIS: And as soon as she learned that she was Patricia Hearst, he can't believe that this is happening to him.

MATTHEWS: I said well my friends aren't going to believe this story. I never really felt that fearful for my life. We even started talking sports. And that's when I told them that I had a baseball game the next day.

HARRIS: We were concerned about him. We wanted him to be able to go on his way and play in his playoff game. I wanted him to be calm and so we were very charming and nice to him. Patricia kind of was flirting with him. Patricia and Tom are talking. Patricia takes out her gun and takes the bullets out of it and she gives him the gun and she explains and why we're robbing banks.

MATTHEWS: Patty opened up and she told me that she was a willing participant in the bank robbery. When patty talked about Mel's sporting goods store, she was proud of how she freed she called them here comrades. She was truly one of them. Bill had a handcuff on one wrist. They stopped got a hacksaw and so I actually cut through the pin. It worked. I cut the handcuff off of him. He was so relieved he gave me a big bear hug and then Patty actually gave me a kiss on the cheek.

HARRIS: We had already had a system of rendezvous points it was setup just for the L.A. area.

MATTHEWS: They had it planned to meet their other comrades at the Century Drive-in. Their signal was a coffee cup on the top of the vehicle.

HARRIS: We bought food to fed Tom and waited.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The SLA suspects entered this sporting goods store and they were caught stealing. They ran firing as many as 30 shots from a 30 caliber machine gun. One suspect dropped this revolver later traced to Emily Harris, a member of the SLA.


TOOBIN: Seeing the news of the Mel shootout, the six others realize the LAPD knows they're in town. So, they figure, they need to get out of where they had been with Bill, Emily and Patty and they start looking for somewhere else to go.

[21:30:04] They are on 84th Street and they drive through South Central looking for a new place to stay and they find a house in the middle of the night of May 16 on 54th Street a few miles away.

HARRIS: We realize that they're not coming. We drove to the hills. You know, we discussed our next move. Emily or Patricia possibly tried to imagine what we left behind and we realized, we actually realized that we left the parking ticket behind.

We knew that the parking ticket was going to connect us to the street that the house was on a big mistake, a horrible mistake.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In May of 1974, I was one of the reporters and the staff of KNXT in Los Angeles. We used to call ourselves CBS Channel 2 news. The morning of May 17th I just cruising to the station and I usually get in between 7:30 and 8:00, some time like that. When Mel's Sporting Goods happened and the shootout happened with Patty Hearst, we figured the SLA is in L.A.

[21:35:01] I got on the story that morning. We got the sense that the LAPD were going to get these guys. They had a reputation cracking heads and unfortunately not all, but some of the heads deserved cracking. They were using this new unit called S.W.A.T. and they had up to that point been able to pretty much use S.W.A.T. very effectively.

AL PRECIADO, RETIRED LAPD S.W.A.T.: In May of 1974 I was a police officer working for the city of Los Angeles and assigned to the S.W.A.T. team, Special Weapons And Tactics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was an acronym Daryl Gates who was the deputy chief at the time. The first S.W.A.T. team was LAPD.

PRECIADO: The LAPD started the S.W.A.T. team right after the 1965 riots. And they wanted station defense teams. And they would respond to their Police station in the event of a riot and defend that police station. That was their primary purpose at the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So they trained them to be high ground security for patrol cops working ground level during violent uprisings, which were happening about every other day back then. There was one riot after another.

PRECIADO: On May 17th, 1974, I was sound asleep in bed. I get a call from metropolitan division, the desk there, and they ask me to respond to 84th in Vermont with my partner. We responded and met with the supervisor there who was Ron McCarthy and he told us what our job was going to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI they believed the SLA would be in and around that location because their getaway vehicle had a parking ticket in it. They were going to try to locate the SLA and they were going to go to that address first. We were called to join the FBI to help them. We would be present and if they need us to be plugged in anywhere, we would.

PRECIADO: In 1974 LAPD S.W.A.T. was probably the only S.W.A.T. team in the country that could handle something like this. The FBI S.W.A.T. team was not totally formed. They were wannabes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI S.W.A.T. team was trying to get their act together about how they wanted to do this because these were dangerous suspects in there. Special agent in charge of the FBI office was there, who was a pain in the neck. He was yelling at the FBI S.W.A.T. guys, just go up and kick the doors, hurry up. They hurried up and they ran across the backyard and booted the backdoor and ran in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The SLA they were gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had there been an SLA member in there with one of those SLA weapons, there would have been a lot of dead FBI agents. They had still left thousands of rounds of ammunition they couldn't take with them. Their propaganda and a lot of the stuff they handled out. There was a radio in there tuned to police calls in L.A.

Also a watch list that showed they always had somebody up and about 24/7 so that you weren't going to surprise them. Deputy Chief Gates was there and I went up to him and said if that idiot, meaning the special agent in charge of the FBI, is anywhere, we don't want anything to do with that idiot. He said, don't worry, you won't have to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI had been planning the heavy role in San Francisco, but by the time they got to L.A., it was LAPD's turf. The LAPD prevailed that basically took the lead in it.

MATTHEWS: When I woke up that Friday morning, it was about 7:00 in the morning and the two girls they were standing up in the van and they knew that their next step was they needed another mode of transportation. That's when I was kind of hoping this ordeal would be over soon.

HARRIS: Emily and Patricia decide to setup as if they are hitchhiking somewhere. They are going to take the first car that picks them up. And sure enough here comes a Cadillac. When they get in the car and take him hostage. He tossed me my keys he told me to stay there for about ten minutes so that's what I did.

HARRIS: Got in the Cadillac and we took off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: LAPD, they were absolutely energized and engaged. I mean they were mobilized. They were determined. They were closing in and they were doing a good job of getting information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People began to come up to us and say hey I saw this, I saw that, I saw this black person and this white person.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two white bros went out to a blue van and left in it and came back and ones in a blue and one was in the red and white one, that's what I've seen.


[21:40:15] UNDENTIFIED MALE: As the day progressed, we literally felt the tightening news like, you know, there, it just got the target got smaller and smaller and smaller and more define. And they finally had it narrowed down to a few houses. When we looked at each other, we say, I would want the LAPD after me.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police and FBI agents used tear gas earlier today when they thought they have the suspect surrounded in the South Los Angeles homes. But, when police entered, they found the structure desert.


PRECIADO: With the incident that happened early in the morning, LAPD did not want the SLA to get away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We flooded the area with police cars hoping to keep them wherever they were if they were still in the area.

PRECIADO: That day like any given day in the city of Los Angeles, there were probably 500 police officers working in the street. At least 150 of those officers were deployed around the perimeter of that location.

A patrol perimeter unit was approached by an elderly lady. The woman said, are you looking for those white folks with guns, and they said, yes, she's there in my daughter-in-law's house. And she said it's five houses from the corner.

[21:45:05] I was approaching the fourth house, and as I got to the front door, I heard a voice. And the voice was that, I believe to be (INAUDIBLE). I was right up against the house. I was right up against the house and he was ordering people to do things inside of the house like to move the furniture, to barricade the front door. I immediately contacted the team at the rear, and I said, the fourth house is the suspect's house.

That ironed it for us. We know we're right at the right place. So, we deployed right away. We would not have done it that way originally but because they had eluded the FBI earlier in the morning, we decided to go in and evacuate houses as we approach them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were scrambling to evacuate the people that hadn't evacuated yet.

PRECIADO: Five square blocks of the city that were contained and the homes were evacuated. My snipers were at the front, I had snipers at the rear. We had 19 S.W.A.T. officers that were actually surrounding the house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The media was in every place.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a building in the 55th in pronto, we're going to move down the street and try to get a better picture for you.


BILL DEIZ, REPORTER: Back in 1974, most TV stations in the United States were using film. And we'd go out with film canisters and then the film would have to be run back to the station and processed and hope that it came out. I mean, you really couldn't cover breaking news with film.

We were experimenting with a brand new form of camera. We kind of duplicate the mini cam. It was a portable camera that allows you to do videotape and live coverage of news stories from the scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE Right where we are now, as well as the other location, I haven't been able to confirm that reports yet.


DEIZ: So, we were basically creating this whole new technique of covering news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, anyone in the vicinity of 55th encounter to stay the heck away from here because it's not a place you want to be denied up, I tell you that, ladies and gentlemen.


HARRIS: We're trying to figure out what our next move is. And on the radio, we learned that the last safe house that we had together had been hit by the police. We didn't know where to go.

We know all the cops are like now closing in and we got to hold up somewhere. We can't be driving around. So, we decide the place where we would be least conspicuous would be in a heavily touristed place. And so, we choose Disneyland.

And as soon as we got our staff in the motel we turned on the TV, they've already surrounded the house on 54th Street.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a place you want to be denied up. I'll tell you that late.


PRECIADO: I was at the corner of the house and I was kind of on my knees kneeling down up against the house. And I notified my lieutenant of what I heard, and the fact that they were barricading themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gary Brakley (ph), he was the sergeant in front, and he gave an announcement 23 separate times to the people on the house of 1466 East 54th Street, you're surrounded.

PRECIADO: We want you to surrender and walk out. Based on that, we'd repeat it over and over and over. And eventually, two people came out, a little boy, about eight or nine years old and an elderly man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he was asked, hey, who's 'in there, he lied and said, there's only an old black lady in there.

PRECIADO: Then he interviewed the little boy and they asked if who is inside the house. He says a bunch of white people with guns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several people in there and white people and black people and they have bullets across their chest like this and lots of bomb, obviously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a radio transmission comes up for the team to deploy tear gas. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) the guys were they're throwing gas off.

PRECIADO: When rumbles into the side of that side of that house, LAPD did that fire first. We fired the tear gas round. That was to cause them to surrender but the gunfire erupted.

It was amazing. It basically scared the hell out of me and I dropped to the ground. I mean, I tried to dig a hole in the cement. The guys who are out in front thought that I was hit. So I get up on my knee and put my thumb up and say, I'm OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I swear to God on my grandchildren's life, none of them made any effort to surrender in any way. You know, make our day if that's what you want, then confrontation is something the police will do. It was all on.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're taking automatic fire, weapons from this location, it's much better to lay down.


[21:53:53] PRECIADO: The weapons that we're using were M1 carbines. An M1 carbine is capable of firing 900 rounds a minute. They have converted it to fire 1300 rounds per minute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were outgunned. They had better weaponry. It was so many rounds going off so fast that it sounded like a -- described that it is like hearing a bedsheet tear, it was zzzz.

DEIZ: We heard the first barrage of gun fire from the SLA house, and we're about a block away. Well, there's an alley way that runs paralleled to Compton all the way down to 54th. And I grabbed the microphone and I grabbed my camera man and we started running down the alley way, unspooling the cable, you know, in this bulky minicab.

OK. We're right here in the corner of 54th and Compton down. We're about to cross the street and two houses away from where all the shooting has been going on.

We go straight through to Compton and I can see the back of the SLA house.

Now, if look closer, you'll see fire going both in and out, see that rag fighting up and down in the gunfire. OK. There's an enormous amount of fire being concentrated on that yellow house.

[21:55:13] We were too energized yet to be scared. At one point, there's a policeman standing by the telephone pole. Buck Simmons (ph), one of other reporters join me at the scene, he came up with the craziest stunt of the day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he indicates to us which side is the police's target. They're aiming to go this way or that direction. Which way is it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're going this way, a way in that direction.



DEIZ: And then all of a sudden, we hear zzz-zzzt.



DEIZ: Literally, I could feel the breeze from the bullet right by my ear. And it flocked into the building right behind us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's bad, that's bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was bad, we just got -- missed by a bullet, uh huh, I don't know how close that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You might see the house right beside us here.


DEIZ: That's when we got scared.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We better get out of here you guys, this is incredible.


TOOBIN: This shootout was incredibly dramatic but what made it even crazier and even more of a national obsession was that, everyone thought Patty Hearst was inside the house. So, that this fight was being watched around the world with everyone thinking that this heiress is about to be murdered on live television.

PRECIADO: We don't want to kill everybody in the house. We don't shoot at a house because we want to kill the people there. We want to stop the gun fire. The gun fire that's going and they stimulate throughout the community would hurt other people outside that are not involved, that are trying to get away from it.

DEIZ: This was urban guerrilla warfare. There was a sense of like we've got to suppress this. We've got to make this stop. That day, I knew that the whole focus of the police was to stop the shooting. These were people intent on killing as many people as they could, and they didn't care how many innocent people got killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We handed through tear gas, grenades. They had chemical agents' mask and they withstood all of the chemical agents we put in there and we put in a bunch. Then the house caught on fire.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just shoot the people away. We tried to bring you a shot of the burning building.

They still had exchange of fire.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Jerry (ph) made announcements again, and say, OK, the house is on fire. You need to surrender.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can hit the one day (inaudible), come out the front door now. Hold your arms. Come out now, come out now! We will not be armed!


PRECIADO: I saw the door open and I took my weapon and I aimed at the doorway. And then I saw Christine Johnson, I believe her name was, and she came out with her hands up and I ordered a ceasefire and it stopped. And then, she walked out to safety. And she moved across and then was taken into custody by the detectives there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a man? Were they white?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were they white? Were they white people?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were they white people?



PRECIADO: I didn't know who she was. You don't shoot at a person that's surrendering.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody in that house had the same opportunity as she did.

DEIZ: And then there was black smoke and it was obviously, the place was on fire. And, you know, and it was basically time for them to stop and they wouldn't stop. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is still fire coming from inside the target house, which is across the street as I said before.


PRECIADO: Patty Hearst was not on my mind at all. My safety and the safety of my officers were more important to me than whether she was in there or not. If she's in there, that's her problem, not mine. I did what I had to do. If she was in there, God willed it.

HARRIS: May 17, 1994 was the worst day of my life.

PRECIADO: The house is burning and they're still shooting.

DEIZ: I think they were committed or that crazy.

PRECIADO: When they recovered that body, everybody thought that was Patty Hearst.

DEIZ: We had hundred agents covering me in six days, all they disappear.


P. HEARST: Greetings to the people, this is Tania. I know what I have to do.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was on a mission.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can you not love someone like that?


P. HEARST: Death to the (INAUDIBLE) that prays upon the lives of the people.