Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Zebra Killers

One Escapes

Ten days later, on October 29, 1973, the Death Angels claimed their second victim. Frances Rose, 28, was driving up to the entrance gate of the University of California at Berkeley extension center in her gold Mustang when a black man walked in front of her car. He raised his hand, ordering her to halt, then leaned through the window and asked for a ride, Howard writes. Something about him made Rose step on the accelerator instead. The passenger door was unlocked, and the man flung it open and fired into the car, spraying bullets into Rose's neck, cheek and chest.

            Robert Stoeckmann was luckier.

            On November 9, the 26-year-old Pacific Gas & Electric clerk went to a company stockyard on Army Street about 8 p.m. on routine business when a well-dressed black man approached him to ask for directions, Stoeckmann later told the San Francisco Chronicle. The black man, later identified as a 35-year-old ex-con named Leroy Doctor, thanked him for his help.

            After he finished his business at the yard, Stoeckmann was startled to find Doctor waiting for him in the street.

            "He pushed me behind the fence, pulled out his gun and aimed it at my mouth," Stoeckmann told the Chronicle. "I was looking at him all the time, and he appeared not overly excited, like he was just doing something on an average stroll. He looked both ways and then I knew he was going to shoot. I ducked to one side and the bullet grazed my neck...

            "I stumbled a couple of feet and fell facedown. I guess he thought I was dead, but I found I could move. He was right on top of me shoving the gun in my stomach, but by this time I was starting to stand.

            "I grabbed the gun and lucky for me it was a revolver, because I grabbed the cylinder and it won't fire unless the cylinder turns. I swung the gun away from me and shook it and it flew across the yard."

            The yard was illuminated by a single streetlight, and both men raced for the gun. Stoeckmann got there first. 

            "I turned around and he was advancing on me," he told the paper. "But this time he looked a little more upset. He wouldn't stop, so I shot at him, but nothing happened. I shot again and nothing happened. I suddenly was afraid the gun was loaded with blanks. But then I remembered the wound in my neck. I fired again and he pitched over."

            Police later found Doctor hiding under a railroad trestle; he'd been shot in the arm, shoulder, and stomach. He told police that it was Stoeckmann who pulled the gun on him, but was later convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.

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