On This Day: May 17th

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On the 17th May 1974 police in Los Angeles raided the Symbionese Liberation Army’s headquarters and killed six members including Camilla Hall. Camilla Hall was a notable member of the SLA, she took part in a number of the organisations terrorist acts including murder, bank robberies and famously kidnapping heiress of William Randolph Hearst, Patricia Hearst. She was shot leaving the house being used by the SLA after it had caught fire.

The United Federated Forces of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) was an American self-styled left-wing revolutionary organization active between 1973 and 1975 that considered itself a vanguard army. The group committed bank robberies, two murders, and other acts of violence. The murders were most notably of Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster in 1973 and Myrna Opsahl a bank customer during the Crocker Bank robbery in 1975, after the majority of the main SLA members had already died.

The raid occurred after a tip-off to the police of heavily armed people occupying the house at 1466 East 54th Street. After tear gas was fired into the building an intense shootout began, after two hours of the standoff the house caught fire. Members Nancy Ling Perry and Camilla Hall left the building and both were shot dead, it was later claimed at trial they were unarmed and were surrendering, although this claim is disputed by the police. The rest died inside from burning and smoke inhalation, except for leader of the SLA, Donald DeFreeze who committed suicide according to the official report. This shootout killed the majority of the key members of the SLA including the leader Donald DeFreeze and key members such as Camilla Hall, although still a problem they weren’t as big of a danger after the raid.

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