ROBERT TRUJILLO Recalls How His Family Found Itself Near 1971 Shootout Involving CHARLES MANSON Followers

October 19, 2023

During an appearance on the latest episode of THE OFFSPRING's "Time To Relax With The Offspring", METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo was asked to recall how his family found itself near the August 21, 1971 gun battle between police and five Charles Manson disciples outside the former Western Surplus in Hawthorne, California. Police intercepted the Manson family members as they robbed the store for guns and ammunition. Three of the robbers suffered minor shotgun wounds.

Trujillo, who was only six years old at the time of the above-mentioned incident, said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Charlie Manson just had gotten arrested. [I am] in Hawthorne, California. I'm staying at my grandma's house. My cousin Greg and my cousin RomanGreg's a couple of years younger than me and Roman's my age — and my dad, we were... For some reason, my grandparents were out at an event or something and weren't in the house. The gun shop, the army surplus shop around the corner on Hawthorne Boulevard, was robbed. And basically, the Manson family had this grand scheme. You can check it out on the Internet. They were gonna rob the gun store and get their ammo and everything, and they were gonna go to [the Los Angeles airport] LAX, and the plan was hijack a 747 and demand that Charlie gets sent to them, and they're gonna take this plane to God knows where. This is what they were thinking. Obviously, the plan didn't work. Cops show up. There's a shootout. We're hearing gunshots, the whole deal. All of a sudden you get the ghetto birds, and they're flying around. They're talking through their kind of intercom, whatever they got going up there: 'Everybody, take cover,' whatever. And so my dad turns off all the lights. We're hiding in the shower. And it was really eerie. It was kinda like that scene in 'Close Encounters' where you see the light come through the windows."

He continued: "So, basically between the ghetto birds, the helicopters and the cops shining these bright flashlights, my dad at one point opened the door to see what was going on, and they were, like, 'Get the fuck back in the house now!' Like that. So, one of the Manson members went to the carport, because it was an apartment complex — one of those kind of Hawthorne-style seven-unit places. Not huge. And he was hiding back there in the carport. So, of course, they surrounded our place. And my grandparents, they owned the unit. So, they had the larger unit. And, yeah, the dude was hiding back there. And luckily, there was a laundry room that kind of separated the unit that we were in. So he would have gone into the window of the laundry room, which could have been the window of the house and taken hostage."

Trujillo added: "And so they arrested about three of them… But the plan was that they were gonna hijack a plane at LAX and they were gonna get Charlie released and take hostages and they were gonna fly to — I don't know — Mexico or something."

Arrested for the robbery were Mary Brunner, Catherine Share, Lawrence Edward Bailey, Dennis Rice and Kenneth Como. A sixth suspect, Charles Lovett, was later taken into custody.

The firearm heist was reportedly foiled by a silent alarm, followed by police cars and a shootout leaving Brunner, Share and Bailey with gunshot wounds.

In June 1972, Lovett became the first to be convicted and was sentenced to 10 years to life for his participation in the robbery. Rice was convicted in early 1973 and sentenced to six months to 20 years, but was released two years later. Share, Bailey, Brunner and Como went on trial together in 1973 and all four were convicted after an eight-day trial. Share was sentenced to 10 years to life; Como was sentenced to 15 years to life; Brunner and Bailey both received sentences of 20 years to life.

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