A clip of one of the more extraordinary moments that has ever taken place on a local newscast is currently zooming up the charts at reddit.
The incident happened in Los Angeles at the studio of KNBC on August 9th, 1987. A mentally unwell man by the name of Gary Stollman—convinced that he knew about government cover-ups of nefarious conspiracies—held a gun to the back of David Horowitz—consumer advocate reporter and later the host of the popular TV program Fight Back!—and forced him to read a rambling manifesto.
Fearing for the worst, the station cut-away, and the diatribe went un-broadcast, unbeknownst to the participants. When Horowitz finished, Stollman put the weapon—a BB gun—on the desk where it was quickly grabbed by anchorman, John Beard.
LA residents and Arrested Development fans, will, of course, recognize longtime—even iconic—Los Angeles newscaster Beard, a guy who stood his ground against having to read constant news stories about Michael Jackson and other trivialities and who lost his gig for these efforts. (John Beard is now on television in the Buffalo, NY market and has also appeared, as himself, on 24.)
My god was David Horowitz cool under pressure!
An August 20, 1987 story in the Los Angeles Times explained what had happened:
Thousands of viewers, however, witnessed the drama as the man, later identified as Gary Stollman, 34, of Tallahassee, Fla., son of former KNBC pharmaceutical reporter Max Stollman, walked up behind Horowitz and handed him the statement.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Horowitz said calmly, taking out his spectacles and putting them on, “there’s a man here who wants me to read a statement. Could we get your name, sir. . .And, Gary, where are you from?”
But Horowitz said later he was anything but calm.
“The guy came up and put a gun in my back,” he said. “My first reaction was ‘I can’t believe this is happening.’ His first words to me were, ‘Read this or I’ll shoot you!’ People later told me how calm I looked, but believe me, I wasn’t!”
KNBC News Director Tom Capra ordered the program cut off the air.
“The guy came on at 4:42 p.m.,” Capra said, “and 28 seconds later we went to black. . . . We cannot allow people with guns or weapons of any kind to take a television station hostage.”
Capra said the station was entirely off the air for several seconds, and then began broadcasting the NBC logo along with a voice-over message asking viewers to stand by because of technical difficulties.
About a minute later, Capra said, the station began broadcasting promotions for its evening programming. And after a little more than seven minutes, the news broadcast returned—with an explanation of what had happened.
Kirstie Wilde, co-anchor of the 4 p.m. news broadcast, said Stollman had been able to bypass security at the station by exploiting his father’s former position with KNBC.
“He scoped the studio out before.” she said. “He came last Thursday and called me to get in. He said he was Max Stollman’s son and he lives in the East and he never had the opportunity to see his dad while he was on our air and could he come down and watch.
“I felt kind of bad because Max’s contract was terminated and he hadn’t had a chance to see him, so I said come on down. . . . “
But what bummed me out was that in the clip, you never get to hear what had Mr. Stollman so agitated. Luckily, one Redditor, EskayPen did a little digging and found this:
A SITUATION REPORT ON OUR ACQUISITION OF ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY AND INTERACTION WITH ALIEN CULTURES by O.H. KRILL
Well, as if this weren’t enough, let’s examine the basic allegations that were raised by Gary Stollman when he held an empty BB gun to David Horowitz on KNBC Channel 4, Los Angeles, in October, 1987. Gary clearly though that he was alone in his knowledge, and evidently turned to desperation to have the public become aware of what he knew. For the sake of brevity, I will simply summarize the allegations, and make comments where I wish to do so:
His physical father is in fact a clone created by the CIA and alien forces.
Cloning is a part of a plot to overthrow the U.S government.
The CIA maintains mental-retraining hospitals.
Phones were turned off at Rohlman Psychiatric Hospital in Cincinnati for 48 hours after his arrival.
A former CIA official had an interview on KPFK radio in which he told a college audience that the CIA has towed barges across New York Harbor that were disease-ridden.
The CIA may have created the AIDS virus to wipe out the gay population. Comment: Hmmm, where have we heard THAT before?
The CIA assassinated John F. Kennedy and the 22 material witnesses who died with two years. Comment: Hmmmm, I have heard that as well.
He demands that the Air Force release all information on UFOs.
He demands that the information about Hanger 18 at Wright-Patterson [AFB] be released.
He relates that he spoke to a girl at Florida Junior College who told him that seven of her friends had been “replaced.”
The CIA doesn’t trust people on computers.
Individuals at the Optimist Boys School in Pasadena were recruited by others and given false IDs and birth certificates.
There is a secret group led by the President’s own staff.
There are beings around with the power to teleport instantly and do the same to others; who can read and control minds, and transform matter into other forms and create it at will.
He asks for a congressional investigation and federal protection.
He states that he cannot harm anyone with an empty BB gun.
If the name “O.H. KRILL” doesn’t ring a bell—and for most people it probably won’t—the so-called “Krill Reports” could be counted as among the most far-out of the Kinkos copied and bound conspiracy literature that started showing up during the ‘zine era. Because they were each individually “published,” they were pricey, like $30 in the late 80s. Eventually the “Krill Reports” started showing up on various computer bulletin boards in the early 90s and you can easily find them on the Internet today, although not with the 2-inch thick photocopied dossiers of the “proof” that came with them.