Suspect in N.Y. Brink’s Holdup, Three Killings Caught in L.A.
A man authorities have described as the ringleader of a revolutionary gang that killed two policemen and a Brink’s guard in a New York holdup more than four years ago was tracked down to a West Los Angeles street corner and tackled by New York City undercover officers as he attempted to flee, officials said Wednesday.
Mutulu Shakur, 35, alleged leader of the Black Liberation Army, was arraigned by a U.S. magistrate here and ordered held on charges of murder and robbery after his capture Tuesday night at the intersection of Packard Street and Spaulding Avenue.
Shakur, on the FBI’s 10-most-wanted list since 1982, was wrestled to the ground by two New York City detectives who, with FBI agents and local law officers, had tailed the fugitive around Los Angeles.
Unarmed, Shakur surrendered without further resistance, officials said, and will be held pending a detention and bail hearing in federal court here Tuesday.
Shakur’s arrest was announced at a press conference called by Richard T. Bretzing, agent in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, and attended by local police officials, as well as New York City’s top police official, Commissioner Benjamin Ward.
Bretzing said that with the arrest of Shakur, authorities have in custody all but one of the half-dozen radicals who are thought to have participated in the $1.5-million robbery of a Brink’s armored car in Nanuet, N.Y., in October, 1981.
The one-time members of the Black Revolutionary Army and the Weather Underground allegedly killed an armored car guard and a few minutes later, armed with automatic weapons, killed two Nyack, N.Y., policemen at a nearby roadblock.
Four people were arrested at the scene, including Weather Underground fugitive Kathy Boudin. Three days later, a suspect named Samuel Smith was killed in a shoot-out with New York City Police in Queens.
An investigation that included law enforcement agencies throughout the country led to the indictments of Marilyn Buck, Dr. Alan Berkman, Shakur and his companion, Cheri Laverne Dalton, 35.
In May, 1985, Buck and Berkman were arrested in New York City and Philadelphia, respectively, the FBI said.
“As a result of Buck’s arrest, Shakur’s presence in Los Angeles became known,” FBI spokesman Fred Reagan said Wednesday.
Bretzing, Ward and representatives of the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department gave vague replies when pressed for details of the manhunt, the arrest and Shakur’s activities in Los Angeles.
Ward, who was in San Diego for a conference of law enforcement officials when the arrest was made, said his officers, with “their ability to blend in with the street scene” and with the help of FBI agents and local law officers, had been looking for Shakur in Los Angeles for more than a month.
Bretzing said Shakur had been “operating out of Los Angeles” for an undetermined period of time.
Dalton, who remains at large and is considered armed and dangerous, has used the aliases Laverne Cheri Dalton, Nahanda Abiodun, Nahanda Obafemi, Cheri Cotton and Flame, according to the FBI. Authorities allege she drove the getaway car in the Brink’s robbery.
The arrest of Shakur resulted in a peaceful demonstration Wednesday morning outside the Police Department’s West Los Angeles Division station, where he was jailed Tuesday night pending a later appearance in federal court and transfer to the federal prison at Terminal Island.
Kamal Hassan, spokesman for the dozen demonstrators who said they are members of the New African People’s Organization, claimed Shakur had been “set upon” by officers, because he was a black activist who provided medical care and support to black nationalists.
Shakur was a founder of a health clinic in New York City’s Harlem, called the Black Acupuncture Assn. of North America.
Authorities have contended that the clinic was a front for Shakur’s group, which they said included Weather Underground member Boudin. She dropped from sight after a 1970 explosion destroyed a Greenwich Village town house that she and other radicals were allegedly using as a bomb factory. Boudin pleaded guilty in 1984 to robbery charges in connection with the Brink’s holdup and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.