Saturday, August 13, 2005

Woman, Rescuer, Officer Shot in Downtown Battle

August 13, 1947

The morning rush hour today was disrupted with a flurry of gunfire, as a jilted Filipino cook sought vengeance on his former paramour, then ran through the streets shooting, endangering police and citizens.

The fight erupted in a food stand in a parking lot at 526 S. Hill Street, when Benedicto Ilamin (aka Bill Sipa), 25, asked his ex-girlfriend Opal Johnston, 33, for a cup of coffee. As she turned to get it, he aimed his .38 and shot her in the hip. Charles Dubou, a 31-year-old waiter who was a customer, attempted to disarm Ilamin and was himself shot in the mouth.

Ilamin ran from the hot dog stand through the parking lot, where he encountered Edward Hubbell, 51, a special officer, who gave chase. The two exchanged shots, and Hubbell was wounded in the leg. As Ilamin crouched to reload, Hubbell grabbed and disarmed him. At this point, a passing traffic officer, Dean Doolan, appeared on the scene and effected Ilamin's surrender.

From her hospital bed, Johnston explained that she had lived with the much younger man at 721 California Street until about a month ago, when she left him after he tried to knife her. She went to Las Vegas, then returned to Los Angeles, where Ilamin had begun annoying her again. He had been into the stand begging her to come back to him on Tuesday night, then again early this morning. His tears turned to rage and he told her "You won't be working her tomorrow!" before shooting her.

All three of his victims are hospitalized. Meanwhile, Ilamin has an explanation for his rampage: "I wanted to talk to her in a nice way, but she wouldn't let me."

Suggested reading: Street Food (Ryland, Peters and Small International Cookbooks , Vol 1, No 4)

1 comment:

Larry said...

Mexican Drama Lively

Mexican film makers have plenty of wars to choose from when it comes to selecting one as a background for a story. “Cuando Lloran los Valientes” (When the Brave Weep,”) currently at the California, Mason and Roosevelt theaters, highlights the turbulent days of President Benito Juarez, though no tiresome historical, political or military phases disturb the flow of the lively melodrama. Only fights between government troops and rebels are small, intimate ones, used to motivate the story. And incidentally, it is the rebels, who, as usual in Mexican films, are the heroes.

+ + +

Imagine my surprise to find that The Times reviewed Mexican movies, usually in critiques signed “G.K.,” who praised this classic of Mexican cinema starring Pedro Infante, Virginia Serret and Blanca Estela Pavon, who won the Best Actress Ariel for this film.

The movie was shown at the California Theatre, 810 S. Main; the Mason Theater, 127 S. Broadway; and the Roosevelt Theatre, 212 N. Main.

According to the Cinema Treasures website, the California opened in 1918 and closed as a Pussycat Theater in 1988. The ticket office was decorated in Batchelder tiles depicting two parrots on either side, and mysteriously vanished while several parties—including the L.A. Conservancy—were trying to obtain it.

California Theatre:

The Mason Theatre, originally the Mason Opera House, opened June 18, 1903, and was torn down in March 1955 to make way for the state office building, now closed because of damage from the 1994 Northridge quake. It was the first playhouse built in Los Angeles in the 20th century and the first constructed on Broadway.

The Roosevelt Theater apparently vanished without a word being written in The Times.