Sept. 28, 1990
By Colleen Barry, Associated Press
Berkeley, Calif. -- A "deranged" Iranian gunman with a hatred of blond Americans died in a burst of police bullets Thursday, seven hours after he stormed a bar, killed one man, wounded seven people and took 33 hostages.
Six officers stormed Henry's Publick House and Grille in the Durant Hotel after police negotiators decided they couldn't talk the gunman out of the bar, said Lt. Jim Polk. "We decided there was no other way," said Polk.
He said the gunman, identified by University of California, Berkeley, spokesman Ray Colvig as Mehrdad Dashti, gave away his position inside the bar by using one of the terrorized hostages as an intermediary in talking to police by telephone.
"Every time the hostage would have to ask a question of this guy, he would have to turn around and look at him and this gave us a good idea of where he was," said Polk.
Seconds after the burst of police gunfire around 7:20 a.m., hostages, some of whom had been forced to sit in the windows of the bar as shields, ran from the hotel.
Dashti, 30, a native of Iran, was naked and bleeding when he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Highland Hospital. He was dead on arrival, according to hospital spokeswomen Phyllis Brown.
"He was apparently very confused," said Berkeley Police Capt. Phil Doran. "Deranged is not a bad description."
"For some reason, he had something against blonds, Caucasian women and blond-haired, blue-eyed men," said Douglas Moore, 25, a UC student and manager of the bar who was one of the hostages. "He had something against Americans."
"He accused the women of showing too much leg," Moore said. "He accused them of wearing tight skirts, short skirts ...
"He said it was that kind of trash that was leading guys like him on and that they deserved to be punished. ... He did a pretty good job of degrading the women."
Mayor Loni Hancock said women hostages were sexually abused, but wouldn't give details.
Moore, however, said no one was sexually abused.
Moore said Dashti claimed the "government owed him $16 trillion for mental telepathy work and this was his way of getting it back."
One of Dashti's demands was that San Francisco Police Chief Frank Jordan appear live on television and "drop his drawers," according to Doran.
Doran said one of Dashti's complaints was that "he didn't get a student loan."
The English pub-style bar, a popular student hangout one block from the UC campus, was crowded when the gunman rushed inside, witnesses said. Several escaped soon after the standoff began, police said.
Dashti shot six people after entering, said Doran. Police reported another two people were shot during another round of gunfire about three hours later.
Moore said John Sheehy, 22, of Lafayette, was shot in the chest at close range early in the incident. Sheehy, a UC student, died during surgery, said Thomas McGarry, a spokesman at Eden Hospital in Castro Valley.
Witnesses said the shooting was punctuated by the gunman screaming, "When is it going to end? How long? How long?"
Frederick Smith, 19, a UC junior from Los Angeles and Dashti's roommate for a month, said Dashti grew up in Iran and moved to this country about eight years ago. He said Dashti was a gun collector and had given Smith shooting lessons.
Two of the wounded were in guarded condition with multiple bullet wounds, two were being treated for leg wounds, and three were treated and released, hospital officials said.