Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Good Guys

I've lived in Sacramento going on three years now. I grew up on the east coast and have seen a lot of major news events. Some things cross the country in news and in the 1990's news was very different than what it is nowadays. Major event's like the O.J. Simpson car chase is one thing that went across the country. We were all glued to the television as it unfolded LIVE! So when I heard about an incident that happened in 1991, I was intrigued. I became even more intrigued once I learned that it happened right here in Sacramento.

It all started at the brand new, just opened the weekend before The Good Guys store.
 
The Good Guys had just opened in South Sacramento. It was April 4th and they were having this huge sale. The store was surprisingly busy for a weekday probably due to the sale and the fact that the store was new to the area. It was around 2:00 p.m. when four young Vietnamese men entered the store. They were armed with hand guns and one shot gun. The men ranged in age from 17-21 years old. They proceeded to gather all of the customers and employees into a group at the front of the store and locked them in the store. The group of customers and employees was over 40 people and included men, women and children. Luckily, before the doors were locked and everyone herded to the front, a few people escaped and phone calls were made to 911 to alert the police that a "robbery" was happening.

The police immediately got on the scene but at this point the young men were already talking to the police and had a list of demands. With the door locked and only one other way into the store they were pretty much hunkered down and secure inside the store. The gunmen immediately demanded bulletproof vests, 4 million dollars and 1,000 year old Ginseng roots. They also wanted a 50 person helicopter to take them to Thailand. The negotiators couldn't get a clear idea of what they wanted because their demands constantly kept changing. They were able to give them vests in exchange for some of the hostages. Since the gunmen had moved everyone to the front of the store, it placed the hostages in front of two large, glass doors. Media ascended on the scene almost before the police. They caught the entire scene on live television.

Eight hours into the incident, the gunmen shot a 22 year old hostage in the leg and released him in exchange for telling the media exactly what they wanted. The gunmen had instructed him to tell the world they were on a suicide mission and bring light to the troubles of their homeland. Police knew they had to do something so they entered the building from the rear and simultaneously shot one of the gunmen through the glass in the front of the building. One gunman was able to get away from the gunfire and began shooting the hostages. This all happened on live television.

This event was the longest and largest American hostage situation on American soil. Three hostages were killed and three gunmen were killed. One gunman was caught and is in a California prison. Another 14 hostages sustained injuries ranging from gunshot wounds to major cuts from the shattered glass. One hostage was 5 months pregnant and suffered a miscarriage while being held.

My fiancé was only 9 at the time but he remembers this incident vividly. He had even begged his mom to take him to the store that week. His dad had been in the store the day before the incident. His mom knew and worked with one of the hostages that was shot and killed. No one had saw this coming. Everyone wonders why they didn't choose the bank that was right beside the store. They still don't know the real reasons behind the incident but the victims have said that they had to forgive to be able to move on.

Could you forgive after something like this? I don't know if I could...

1 comments:

KiMarsha49 said...

wow, I don't know. I was working in an Eckard Drug store in 1979 when I was 19 at the cosmetics counter and 2 gunmen with ski masks came in 2 minutes until closing. We had those movable gates that were made out of metal, they jumped over them.. one came str8 to me and stuck a 38. revolver to my head while the other ran back to the pharmacist making demands for pain medication. The gunman with me told me as long as I didn't move and did as he said I wouldn't be hurt.. so that's what I did. The other gunman got the medications he asked for and they left the store without further incident. I was calm up until the moment they flew out the door then I kinda fell apart for a moment or two. It was really scary and the guys were caught weeks later right after they had robbed another pharmacy. They had a phone book page in there car with all of the Eckard Drug stores circled that they had already robbed. They made me go to the police department and identify him thru a line up. I remembered the words he said to me and what his hands looked like and I picked him out of 7 men. In my case, the manager and pharmacist followed orders to the T and no one was injured, but it could have been very different if the pharmacist had decided not to follow orders. we could have been shot and killed. I think the Sacramento police Department were in part responsible for these peoples deaths by not following orders. It's a shame, I watched the In an Instant special about it and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.. I can relate to what these people went through because of course I've been there. I was also almost robbed in a parking lot going into a night club one night a few years later. I ran from the guy when he asked for my purse and ordered me to get into the car. I had lee way though and had the option that night because he was sitting in his car from a distance and facing the other direction from me in his car and I had the chance to run into the club and get away. I WAS LUCKY THESE PEOPLE IN THIS STORE UNFORTUNATELY WERE NOT. It's sad. It's bad enough they couldn't trust the bad guys, that's a given but in these people's cases they couldn't trust the good guys either. to them money was more important I guess than these people's lives. They should have got them the money, or negotiated better and did their damnedest with what they could come up with, these guys as young as they were would have, slipped up and got caught down the line and how many helicopters can fly all the way to Vietnam without gassing up somewhere along the way?? . it's a travesty what happened here...life is a crap shoot, never know do ya?