Manson Cultists Captured After Blazing Gun Battle
Monday, August 23rd, 1971
HAWTHORNE, Calif., Aug. 23 – At least three of five armed suspects captured after a shootout that accompanied the attempted robbery of a Hawthorne war surplus store have been identified as members of Charles Manson’s hippie-cult “family,” Hawthorne police said Sunday.
The 20-minute gun battle at the Western Surplus Store, 13423 Hawthorne Blvd., that left three of the suspects seriously wounded, erupted at about 9 p.m. Saturday. No police Were injured. A sixth suspect Who escaped during the shootout also was believed to be a member of the Manson family.
The possibility that several of those arrested were members of the Manson cult came to light when one of the two women suspects wounded in the gun battle said she was Catherine “Gypsy” Share, 18, of Glendale.
The other wounded woman, who first gave her name as “Jerry Sherwin,” then was identified as Mary Brunner, 26, wanted on a warrant for failure to appear as a witness in the Shea-Hinman case.
This is the case in which the 36-year-old Manson, 20-year-old Steve Grogan, and 27-year-old Bruce Davis are on trial in connection with the slayings of movie stuntman Donald ‘Shorty” Shea and musician Gary Hinman.
The male suspect wounded in the gun battle, who told police he was “Joseph Jones,” was identified as Lawrence Edward Bailey, 22, no known address. There was a possibility he was a member of the Manson family known as “Larry Jones.” The two other suspects captured were Kenneth Como, 31, and Dennis Rice, 29.
Como escaped from a holding facility at the Old Hall of Records last July 23 as he was waiting to testify in court on the Shea-Hinman case. He had been returned to Los Angeles from Folsom Prison, where he was serving a term for robbery.
Rice was a Manson family member who served a short jail term along with Miss Share after they pleaded no contest to charges of feeding a witness in the Tate-LaBianca trial a hamburger laced with LSD.
Miss Share testified during the penalty phase of the Tate-LaBianca trial as a defense witness for the Manson cult.
The suspect who escaped was believed to be Charles Lovette, 19-year-old. member of the Manson family. He has short brown hair, brown eyes, a goatee, and an “X” marked on his forehead.
Miss Share, Miss Brunner and Bailey were taken to the jail ward at County-USC Medical Center. Como and Rice were held at Hawthorne police station, Miss Share was wounded in the left side and back and Miss Brunner suffered a hand wound. Bailey’s kneecap was shattered by gunfire.
Officers said four men and a woman entered the store armed with pistols and a shotgun. They forced two women customers and three male employes to lie on the floor while they gathered up about 200 guns to be carried out to a van waiting in the alley with a woman driver.
One of the employes managed to trigger a silent alarm which brought about 30 officers from Hawthorne, El Segundo, Redondo Reach, and the Lennox Sheriff’s Station.
When the suspects saw the officers surround the store they opened fire. One police car was riddled with 33 bullet holes.
By STAN LEPPARD