Two Days in South LA: The 1974 SLA Shootout

The Symbionese Liberation Army, an alleged left wing radical group, kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst in Berkeley in February 1974. Three months later in South Los Angeles, the kidnappers engaged almost 500 law officers in a standoff that was broadcast on national TV, culminating in a shootout and fire in which six members of the group were killed.

In this tour, originally presented as part of Esotouric’s tenth anniversary celebrations, author Brad Schreiber (Revolution’s End) takes us to four significant SLA locations, revealing the incredible, true story of prison drug experiments, gun-running, undercover agents and the suppressed lover’s quarrel that resulted in the most famous kidnapping in US history.

It’s a story that has waited 45 years to be fully told, and which will unfold as we explore the radical culture of 1960s and 1970s South Los Angeles and beyond.

Also joining us on this edition of the tour is another favorite Esotouric and forensic science seminar guest host, Mike Digby. For his contribution to the tour, Mike will provide a detective’s interpretation of the LAPD’s pursuit of the SLA, both leading up to the May 1974 standoff, and in the fractured group’s continued terror campaigns that followed that event.


BRAD SCHREIBER has written for all media. He has been a producer, executive, director, consultant and actor. His early-years biography Becoming Jimi Hendrix was called “fascinating” by the New York Times and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library. He was Vice President of Storytech Literary Consulting, founded by story structure expert Christopher Vogler, for 11 years. In television, he created the series North Mission Road, which ran for six seasons on tru-TV, based on his book Death in Paradise: An Illustrated History of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner. He was a writer, producer and development executive for L.A. PBS affiliate KCET-TV, and director of development for TV/film director Jonathan Kaplan. Schreiber’s writing has been honored by the Edward Albee Foundation, the National Press Foundation and others. Schreiber has taught at the American Film Institute, the Directors Guild of America, University of Wisconsin, Madison and many other locations, in the US, Canada and Mexico. His latest book, Revolution’s End, an exposé of the Patricia Hearst kidnapping, won 2017 awards from the International Book Awards and Independent Publisher Book Awards, is an audiobook read by Brad and is being developed as a feature film.

Brad will have copies of his books “Revolution’s End” and “Death in Paradise” available for sale and signing.


After serving seven years in the United States Army, Mike Digby joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department where he served proudly for more than 34 years. For the last seventeen years, he was assigned as a Detective Bomb Technician in the Arson/Bomb Squad where his duties included rendering safe and disassembling improvised explosive devices, examining and disposing of military ordnance and conducting post-blast investigations. A self-proclaimed “bomb nerd” and decorated detective, Mike has spent years studying the motives of bombers, their methods of attack and the bombs that they built. He has served as technical advisor on BBC and Discovery Channel programs. In December 2016, Mike published The Bombs, Bombers and Bombings of Los Angeles, a book which documents several dozen bombing events that took place in the Los Angeles area over the past hundred years.

Scenes From Past Tours