Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Zebra Killers

Faded Memory

During a six-month period between 1973 and 1974, the group killed 14 people and wounded seven others solely because they were white, but the Zebra murders seemed to fade from the collective memory. Today, most San Franciscans have never heard of them. Every day, thousands of people walk over the same spots where the Zebra victims were gunned down, completely oblivious to the violent deaths that stained the sidewalk beneath their feet.

            The place where the men worked and some even lived — Black Self Help Moving and Storage — is now an antiques dealership. Recently, a store employee would only allow a reporter to enter after she promised not to publish the address, take pictures, or discuss the case with other employees, who weren't aware of the location's history.

            The loft where the Zebra Killers met to work themselves into a frenzy of hate some 30 years ago is now full of old furniture. The central column where the killers allegedly tied a naked transient before hacking him to death is obstructed by dressers and chairs.

             A few blocks away, at the site where Neal Moynihan was gunned down near the Civic Center Hotel as he carried the teddy bear he'd purchased for his sister's Christmas present, the bloodstains have long since faded .... as has the memory of the Zebra Killer's six-month reign of terror.

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