L.A. shooting suspect surrenders in Las Vegas
Shooting victims recovering
August 11, 1999
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Buford Furrow, the suspect police had sought in the shooting at a Los Angeles-area Jewish community center, turned himself in to authorities in Las Vegas on Wednesday, sources told CNN.
Senior FBI officials in Washington said Furrow was alone when he surrendered at the FBI field office.
"It was just a walk-in," a senior official told CNN. "There were no negotiations."
Authorities also said Furrow would be charged in the slaying of a postal worker who was shot near the community center.
Five people were wounded at the community center. Afterward, information surfaced linking Furrow to hate groups in the U.S. Northwest.
News reports said the Washington state native belonged to, or was once associated with, the groups Aryan Nation, the Order and Christian Identity.
He is listed in a database maintained by the Southern Poverty Law Center of people connected with radical groups, said Mark Potok, a researcher with the center based in Montgomery, Alabama.
Potok said Furrow was a member of Aryan Nation in 1995, and said he has a photo of Furrow in a Nazi uniform, taken that year at the white supremacist group's compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho.
Meantime, newspapers in Washington state reported that Furrow once lived with Debbie Mathews, widow of Robert J. Mathews, founder of the Order, a neo-Nazi hate group. Furrow and Debbie Mathews reportedly met at an Aryan Nation gathering.
The Seattle Times said that until about a year ago they lived with Mathews' teen-age son in Metaline Falls, located in northwestern Washington near the Idaho border.
"He was very much a racist," said a former Metaline Falls neighbor, an unidentified woman quoted by the Seattle Times.
In yet another development, a van believed driven by Furrow contained a book, "War Cycles, Peace Cycles," written by Richard Kelly Hoskins, who Potok called "one of the principal ideologues of Christian Identity."
Christian Identity is a group with religious overtones that considers white people superior to Jews and nonwhites.
"Hard-line Identity adherents believe that in order for Christ to return to Earth, the globe must be swept clean of satanic forces -- meaning Jews, homosexuals and a whole laundry list of other enemies," Potok said.
In November, according to the Seattle Times, Furrow tried to commit himself to a psychiatric hospital in a Seattle suburb, but was reluctant to submit to inpatient treatment and, at one point, pulled a knife on several staffers.
Court records show Furrow was charged with felony assault on November 2, 1998, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to five months in the King County Jail.
Sources told CNN he was on probation at the time of Tuesday's attack.
Furrow, 37, is suspected of walking into the North Valley Jewish Community Center and firing more than 70 bullets from what was believed to be a 9 mm weapon before escaping.
When the hunt for the suspect spread from California to Washington, the Los Angeles police chief said authorities were "looking wherever the leads will take us."
"If it requires us to go nationally or internationally, we're certainly capable of doing that," Chief Bernard Parks told CNN.
While authorities were investigating the possibility that Tuesday's late-morning attack was a hate crime, Parks said authorities knew of no "specific motive."
"The suspect did not make any comments before firing at the victims," he said.
The wounded included three young boys attending day camp, a 16-year-old counselor and a 68-year-old receptionist.
The most seriously injured was a 5-year-old boy, who was shot in the abdomen and leg. He was in critical condition after six hours of surgery, and his prognosis for recovery was considered fair.
The other two boys, ages 6 and 8, and the teen-age counselor were hospitalized in stable condition. The receptionist, Isabelle Shalometh, went home Tuesday night.
Furrow grew up in Lacey, Washington, near the state capital of Olympia.
His family still lives there, and neighbors said Furrow had recently been living with his parents.
On Tuesday night, FBI agents visited the home and searched the area.
Agents also interviewed neighbors Janet and Tim Tyrolt. Mrs. Tyrolt told reporters Furrow was " a perfect gentleman" she first met two or three months ago.
As recently as 1994, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported, Furrow had lived in Rosamond, California, a town about 40 miles from the scene of the community center attack in Granada Hills.
The suburban San Fernando Valley community is about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Police said that after the shootings the gunman fled in a red van and, minutes later, stole a green car near the Van Nuys airport.
Investigators followed his trail, from the shell casings that littered the community center's lobby to the abandoned red- and-white van. In addition to the Hoskins literature, it was filled with ammunition, bulletproof vests, explosives and freeze-dried food.
The hunt next led police to a green Toyota Corolla that was believed to have been stolen and then left in front of a hotel in Chatsworth, a few miles from the community center. Police said they found weapons in the car.
Officers surrounded the hotel, but the search ended after four hours. "We were so close but still he managed to get away," Cmdr. David Kalish said.
The abandoned van, which had a Washington state license plate, was purchased Saturday in Tacoma, Washington, according to the used-vehicle dealer who sold it. Kalish identified Furrow as the buyer.
Officials at the North Valley Jewish Community Center told CNN the facility would reopen as soon as police investigators allow it.
Meantime, a summer program for youngsters was to resume Wednesday at an Episcopal church next door.
Suspect identified in California shootings, hunt intensifies
The Los Angeles Police Department
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