This article was first published in 2017 as a look back at 160 years of Sacramento history.
Until April 4, 1991, the store at 7020 Stockton Blvd. was just another outlet in the Good Guys electronics chain, a popular shopping spot near Florin Mall.
That all ended at 1:30 that afternoon as four gunmen walked in and took 39 people hostage in a standoff that lasted for 81/2
By the time it ended, six people were dead, 10 were wounded and the siege would be called the largest hostage-rescue event in U.S. history.
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The gunmen – three brothers and a friend of theirs – took over the store and, as sheriff’s deputies surrounded the scene, began issuing a series of bizarre demands.
They wanted a helicopter, more weapons and body armor and millions of dollars.
At one point, sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Lyons stripped to his underwear to deliver a bulletproof vest to the front of the store in exchange for the release of a woman and two young children.
Soon, local television stations began broadcasting the scene live, with the gunmen watching the coverage on televisions inside the store and declaring that they were “going to be movie stars.”
Sacramento County Sheriff Glen Craig had other ideas, sending a seven-person SWAT team in through the roof to wait for the signal to move in.
About 9 p.m., the gunmen flipped a coin to choose a victim, then shot a 24-year-old store employee in the leg and sent him crawling out of the store with demands for bulletproof jackets, a helicopter and weapons.
Half an hour later, the gunman shot another hostage in the leg, and negotiators agreed to deliver one vest to the glass front doors.
A hostage went to retrieve the vest and opened the door, giving a sheriff’s sniper a shot at one of the gunmen. But the bullet hit the door as it closed and shattered the glass, sending a gunman running down a line of hostages as he fired into their bodies.
The scene played out on live television and the SWAT team rushed in as other deputies rushed the front doors.
Three of the gunmen – Pham Nguyen, 19; his 17-year-old brother, Long Nguyen; and friend Cuong Tran, 19 – were killed. Loi Khac Nguyen, then 21, was wounded but survived and later was sentenced to 49 consecutive life terms in prison.
The siege killed two store employees – Kris Sohne and John Lee Fritz – and customer Fernando Gutierrez.
The store remained open until 2005, when its lease expired.