Certain events retain a power that stays with you for life. Clearly the Kennedy assassinations or that of Martin Luther King have that sort of effect on people.
I would argue that June 18, 1994 might be one of those moments — certainly in my life.
The title of this post should give away the content (if the picture doesn’t). I spent that Friday from about 6:30 a.m. until at least 11 p.m. outside Parker Center, O.J. Simpson’s Brentwood home and back outside Parker Center as part of one of the most surreal events I’ll ever cover.
Here’s some of what we ran the following day:
Simpson’s arrest ends day of drama
‘Fallen American hero’ faces murder charges in death of former wife, her friend
By Tom Scanlon, Tori Richards and Frank Girardot Staff Writers
O.J. SImpson took off on the longest, most dangerous run of his life before being arrested on murder charges last night.
“O.J. Simpson is in custody,” said LAPD Cmdr. David Gascon at a 10 p.m. news conference. “He is being booked and processed.”
The double murder defendant — called a “fallen American hero” by the man in charge of prosecuting him was arrested at his Brentwood home after a 60-mile 90-minute police chase. The chase began in Orange County and crossed much of Los Angeles with Simpson, 46, keeping police away by pointing a gun to his head.
The 8:50 p.m. arrest of Simpson, accused of killing his ex-wife and her male friend capped a bizarre day that included a bomb scare, fears that Simpson would kill himself, a mysterious 911 call to the home of murdered Nicole Brown Simpson, pleas by officials to have Simpson turn himself in, a police force on the defensive and a public reading of an emotional note from Simpson.
The former USC and National Football League star running back had eluded police since 11 a.m. when he was suppossed to turn himself in.
The question of the day was “Where’s O.J.?” For most of the day the Los Angeles Police Department had no answer.
He was considered armed and dangerous, and after he was finally arrested, a gun was recovered from the cat that led police on a chase watched by much of the country.
Simpson was carrying photos of Nicole Simpson and their daughter when he was arrested. Gascon said SImpson would be taken to the Men’s Central Jail. He probably will be held there — perhaps under a suicide watch — until Monday, when he is likely to …
After Simpson eluded poilice all afternoon — he was believed to have attempted to visit his ex-wife’s grave in Orange County — at 6:25 p.m. a motorist called the California Highway Patrol to report a car matching the description of Simpson’s vehicle.
Twelve minutes later, the CHP received a 911 call from the car. “It was Al Cowlings and he said that O.J. Simpson had a gun to his head,” said spokesman Angel Johnson.
The Ford Bronco was being driven by Cowlings, O.J.’s lifelong friend and USC and Buffalo Bills teammate. The strange low-speed pursuit began in Santa Ana and the televised specticle continued to the driveway of Simpson’s home in Brentwood.
Simpson surrendered, bu tonly after 50 minutes of intense negotiations. Police again feared that Simpson had a gun to his head in the back seat as Cowlings darted back and forth from teh vehicle to the house, where police stood in the doorway.
“Mr. Simpson was induced to leave the vcehicle and come into the house,” said Gascon. “He was taken into custody, he was searched and then he was allowed to call his mother, visit the restroom and then he had a glass of orange juice.
Cowlings, 47, was also arrested, booked on a felony charge of aiding and abetting a fugitive and held on $250,000 bail.
At 9:30 p.m., just before Simpson arrived at Parker Center there were 11 helicopters hovering above, 100 people from the media and 75 spectators. Seven unmarked police cars pulled in — with Simpson sitting in the back seat handcuffed between two officers.
As his car rolled in, onlookers cheered ….