Ex-UW Woman Held In Shootout
Monday, August 23rd, 1971
HAWTHORNE, Calif., Aug. 23 – Five suspects captured in an attempted robbery and 10-minute shootout with police in a Los Angeles suburb were identified Sunday as followers of cultist and condemned murderer Charles Manson.
A sixth suspect was being sought. He was identified as Charles Allen Lovett, a brown-eyed, goateed, 165-pound, 19-year-old with the Manson “family” X scratched on his forehead.
The object of the raid on the Western Surplus Store in Hawthorne was guns, not money. The robbers had smashed gunracks and collected about 140 guns when police arrived in response to a silent alarm.
Three of the suspects. Catherine (Gypsy) Share, 26, Mary Brunner, 26, and Lawrence Edward Bailey, 22, were wounded by shotgun pellets.
All were reported in fair condition. None of the officers was hit.
Mary Brunner, a native of Eau Claire, is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and last year worked as a UW librarian.
Miss Brunner, one of the original members of the Charles Manson family, spent last year in and out of the Los Angeles courtroom in the murder trial of bagpipe musician Gary Hinman. The murder was related to the Tate-LaBianca murders.
Originally scheduled to testify against Manson and Robert Beausoleil as an eye witness in the murder Miss Brunner was granted immunity by Los Angeles Dist. Atty. James M. Leavy.
Later, however, when she repudiated her testimony, officials tried to revoke her immunity and add her to the list of defendants in the murder case. Superior Judge George M. Dell decided however that her immunity could not be revoked.
Several times during the Hinman murder trial, Miss Brunner was visited in Madison by members of Manson’s family. The Los Angeles district attorney’s office believed the visits to be the reason for Miss Brunner changing her testimony.
The whereabouts of Miss Brunner has been sketchy since she was freed from any connection with the murder trial.
The trio, along with Dennis Rice, 32, and Kenneth Como, 31, a Folsom Prison escapee, were booked on charges of armed robbery and attempted murder.
Lt. Larry Dykehouse of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide detail speculated on the motive of the robbery:
“During the course of the trials (hearings involving Manson and other ‘family’ members) threats have been made against judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, the district attorney and others, and it also has been stated that Manson and the other defendants would be freed.”
The 36-year-old Manson, convicted and sentenced to death earlier this year for the seven Tate-LaBianca murders, is on trial in the combined Gary Hinman-Donald (Shorty) Shea murder case.
Hawthorne Police Sgt. Richard Prentice gave this account of the holdup attempt and gunfight Saturday night:
Three clerks and two customers were in the Hawthorne store shortly after 9 p.m, when one of the robbers, armed with a sawed-off shotgun, ordered them to lie on the floor.
The rest of the group attacked the gunracks and display cases, collecting rifles, shotguns and handguns for loading in a white 1966 Ford van parked in the alley behind the store.
While the robbers worked, one of the clerks pressed a silent alarm. The suspects saw a two-man police unit arrive in front of the store and started to flee out the back, but the way was blocked by Lt. James Kobus.
Kobus pulled across the alley with the driver’s side of his patrol car facing the truck and was standing by the door with his radio microphone in hand when someone started shooting from the van.
Kobus’ car was struck 20 times by buckshot and automatic rifle slugs. The officer returned fire over the hood of his car.
Backup units responded to Kobus’ radio call and eight Hawthorne officers were involved in the gunfight when sheriff’s deputies, highway patrolmen and officers from surrounding communities arrived.
Sometime during the shootout, police said, the sixth robber slipped away. The others gave up. Their van had been hit by more than 50 shots.
“Gypsy” Share and Mary Brunner were closely associated with Manson in the clan leader’s days in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district and at Chatsworths Spahn Movie Ranch.
Miss Share testified in Manson’s behalf in the Tate-La Bianca trial and Miss Brunner reportedly bore a son by Manson.
Rice and “Gypsy” served brief jail sentences during the 9 1/2-month Tate-LaBianca trial after pleading no contest to charges of spiking a hamburger with LSD and giving it to a prosecution witness.
Como escaped from the Hall of Justice in Los Angeles July 23. He had been brought here from Folsom to testify in the Shea murder case.
By JOHN KENDALL