What began as a pre-dawn arrest of a suspected prowler in a Berkeley street on Saturday (16 June) ended in a terrifying four-hour siege, and the deaths of three people...
SV PAN FROM Street sign to EXTERIOR house
SV Armed police around house
CU Cap of shot police sergeant on ground
CU PAN Gunman's wife outside siege house
CU Armed policemen (2 shots)
SCU ZOOM OUT Gunman on ground, critically shot
CU One of hostages (dead girl's father) SOUND CONTINUES OVER SHOT of body loaded into ambulance
CU Policeman holds gun
FATHER: "He didn't talk much."
REPORTER: "Towards the end, did you have any inkling what was coming?
FATHER: "No, I was just sitting there and all of a sudden he just shot her. There was no warning, nothing. I don't know what made him do it at that particular moment."
Initials BB/2337 TS/MR/BB/0011
This film contains a Sound-on-film commentary. An alternative commentary is provided overleaf.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: What began as a pre-dawn arrest of a suspected prowler in a Berkeley street on Saturday (16 June) ended in a terrifying four-hour siege, and the deaths of three people...the suspect, a policeman, and a four-year-old girl.
The man who killed the policeman and the little girl was 34-year-old Ernest Silus. He was shot and fatally wounded by police as he ran from the house where he'd kept a couple and the girl hostage.
The violence started when 26-year-old Stephen Levine called police to report a prowler outside his house. When he went outside, armed with an axe, he saw the prowler on the ground grappling with a policeman trying to handcuff him. Silus shot the policeman twice with the policeman's own gun. Silus rushed into a two-storey house and held two people hostage. Police ringed the house and Silus demanded someone be sent in to free him from the handcuffs. The police sent in his own wife, but minutes later, there was a single shot. Silus had shot a four-year-old girl, and three people including his wife, ran from the house.
A police marksman fired three rifle shots at Silus from a house next door. One of them hit Silus, and he collapsed.
At the scene of the shooting, the father of the dead girl spoke with newsmen. He was unable to explain what happened.