Dark Day In San Francisco history : Eight Die In 101 California Massacre

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Dark Day In San Francisco history: Eight Die In 101 California Massacre

The office tower at 101 California Street at the time of the shooting
The office tower at 101 California Street at the time of the shooting

On July 9, 1993, at 2:57 p.m., Ferri, dressed in a dark business suit, entered an office building at 101 California Street, San Francisco, and made his way to the offices of Pettit & Martin on the 34th floor.

All the while he was wheeling a black satchel on a dolly. After exiting the elevator, he donned a pair of orange ear protectors and produced two TEC-9 pistols and a Norinco copy of the Colt M1911 from the bag, opening fire on a glassed-in conference room where the deposition was in progress.

Gian Luigi Ferri
Gian Luigi Ferri

Jack Berman, a lawyer from another firm, was killed along with his client, Jody Sposato, while P&M attorney Sharon O’Roke and court reporter Deanna Eaves were left wounded. Partners Brian Berger and Allen J. Berk were both shots also, with only Berger surviving his wounds.

After roaming the 34th floor, Ferri moved downwards through an internal staircase, killing two more people and injuring another.

On the 32nd floor, at the Trust Company of the West, he killed two secretaries and an investment manager, wounding a Trust Company marketing vice president and another P&M attorney.

By then, Ferri’s weapons had overheated and jammed, and he found himself trapped between two converging groups of policemen.

He stuck his third gun under his chin and pulled the trigger. It was 15 minutes since he had entered the building. He was described as displaying a blank expression throughout the shooting.

SFPD Commander Richard Holder holds the gun that Ferri used to kill himself
SFPD Commander Richard Holder holds the gun that Ferri used to kill himself

Aftermath

After his rampage was over, a four-page typed letter, full of grammatical errors and misspellings, was found on Ferri’s deceased body.

It contained a list of complaints, including allegations that he had been poisoned by monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer in food, due to the Food and Drug Administration failure to regulate it, and that he had been “raped” by Pettit & Martin and other firms.

It also contained complaints against the legal profession (claiming it gave “allegiance to the monarchy”), against anyone connected with the failed Midwestern trailer park deal, and a list of over 30 “criminals, rapists, racketeers [sic], lobbyists”, none of whom were among his actual victims.

Victims coming out of the 101 California Street office tower
Victims coming out of the 101 California Street office tower

Following the shooting, California adopted tougher gun laws and made it possible for the victims’ relatives to sue the companies that made the weapons Ferri used.

The event also led to the installation of security measures which are now common in most office buildings.

The 101 California Street shooting was also one of the incidents, along with the 1993 Waco Siege, which brought to the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

Pettit & Martin didn’t last long after the massacre and eventually dissolved in 1995.

Modus Operandi

Ferri employed a pair of Intratec TEC-DC9 pistols and a Norinco NP44 (a Chinese-manufactured Colt M1911 copy) during the shooting.

The TEC-9s were equipped with shoulder straps and a Hell-Fire trigger, a device that allows a semi-automatic firearm to fire at a rate approaching that of a fully automatic one.

The ammunitions were a mixture of Black Talon hollow point and standard bullets.

In order to carry the weapons and other magazines, he used an ordinary-looking black canvas satchel and a dolly.

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John Smith has been with Histecho since 2017, A Senior Editor & Writer for Histecho. his work has been featured in outlets such as Scientific American, The Washington Post, NBC News, and Fox News. John grew up outside of Philadelphia and studied biology at Hamilton College in upstate New York.