It was the Fourth of April, 1991. In Sacramento at approximately 1:30 P.M., 4 young men entered the Good Guys electronics store. Three brothers Loi Khac Nguyen (21), Pham Khac Nguyen (19), and Long Khac Nguyen (17) and their colleague, Cuong Tran, (17) were all members of the Oriental Boys gang and had happened on the Good Guys store after a failed robbery. The gang of four young men quickly drew their weapons and got all 41 individuals within the store under their control.
Authorities were called and the media got wind of the situation shortly thereafter as well. Both made their presence known immediately and due to the layout of the store, that being several large windows, cameras were able to capture much of what was going on in the big box store. Hostages were being tied with speaker cabling, lined up along the windows to shield the four assailants and to displace any potential snipers. The layout of the store did not lend itself to tactical strategy. There were few entrances and exits, making it hard for law enforcement to get the drop on the criminals. Police were able to get into the ceiling of the store, move a ceiling panel and view the store with a small mirror. They noted the back entrance was being barricaded at the kidnappers behest. Hostages were stacking large boxes in front of the exit. A small camera was also installed but it was of little use as the kidnappers were not operating as much in the cameras vicinity.
Soon after the siege began the team of four began making outlandish demands. The group had demanded $4 million dollars, bullet proof vests, ancient ginger root for tea and a helicopter. All so absurd that it’s curious why they’d even ask for it in the first place. The group seemed unfocussed and unable to hone in on any one particular demand. At one point, police were able to exchange a bulletproof vest for several hostages. This was crucial for the police. They found the criminals were able to negotiate somewhat and they gained valuable information from some of the released hostages. They learned so far no one was hurt, the gunshots were the gang shooting out the stores surveillance cameras.
Law enforcement were on the phone with an individual representing the team for hours. Police were hopeful that the talks would eventually lead to a deal releasing the hostages. However the man representing the team who simply went by “Thai” stopped communicating and was soon replaced by a more stern individual going by “Number One”.
The negotiations have now extended over 8 hours and another gunshot was heard. This was now the first victim of the stand off. A hostage requested to be shot in the leg in exchange for release. He was told in order to be released, in addition to his injury he would have to tell the plight of the criminals country and get their message to the media. The criminals were failing to cooperate more and more and now hostages were being harmed. Drastic steps would have to be taken. A green light was given, meaning snipers could take aim on any of the suspects which they felt they had a clear shot on.
As snipers were taking aim, police were delivering a second bullet proof vest. A hostage was sent to retrieve it. While getting the vest, another hostage was put on the phone with law enforcement. They had informed them that the gunmen were soon going to start executing the hostages. As the first hostage who was retrieving the vest was going back to the store, a sniper decided to take aim and fire at one of the gunmen. The bullet did not hit. It bounced off the door and was unable to reach it’s intended target. This would prove to be fatal as all 4 gunmen began scrambling around the store, shooting at their bound hostages. These events were captured on camera and broadcast live on the news. America watched in horror as the criminals were gunning down innocent shop goers without mercy. Not long after the shots were fired, law enforcement attacked the door, leading with a stun grenade.
Within a few short minutes, all suspects were accounted for, three of which were dead from gunshot wounds they sustained during the raid. Within the short timeframe the suspects were able to shoot 14 individuals, 3 of which were killed; Kris Edward Sohne (employee), John Lee Fritz (employee), and Fernando Gutierrez (customer).
The lone survivor of the gang was Loi Khac Nguyen A.K.A. “Thai” whom authorities spoke with over the phone initially. He was charged for his crimes and sentenced to 41 life sentences.
If you would like to learn more, Fernando Gutierrez’s niece who was also present during the events wrote a book about the ordeal which can be found at the link below.