Mob Terrorizes Patrons At Carson Drive-In Movie (San Pedro News-Pilot/Aug 18/1981/US) By Bob Jones



A scene out of a violent movie showing at a Carson drive-in theater turned into terrifying reality for two women and three teen-agers Monday night.

The group was assaulted by about 20 youths who threatened them with knives, jumped on their car, pelted it with bottles and rocks, smashed the windows and beat up two of the children, the woman said.

The two Manhattan Beach women, one 24 and the other 30, said they screamed for help but no one in the Figueroa Street drive-in came to their aid.

In a scene from the movie they were about to see, Escape From New York, violent prisoners on Manhattan Island attack the station wagon of a man sent to rescue the president. The car was kicked and smashed with rocks, bottles and clubs.

One of the women, who said she was too fearful to give her last name, had accompanied her 12-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son to the Carson-South Bay Six Screen Drive-In near Torrance Boulevard. The third youth, a 15-year-old boy, was a family friend from Rancho Palos Verdes.

They said the attack by the group, ranging in age from about 12 to 17, was unprovoked.

"We were down in the seats with the top all smashed in and there were rocks and bottles flying through the air at us," said the mother. "These kids are kicking in the windows, throwing rocks and jumping on the car.

"It was the scariest thing I ever went through in my life."

In the panic, confusion and fear, the younger woman, said she couldn't find the keys to her classic 1965 Mustang. When she finally found them and started flee in the car, the youths gave chase.

"The gang was running after us over the drive-in. They were blocking exits and screaming and yelling at us," the mother said.

"We were going around in circles begging for help and no one would help us.

Her friend said, "I just drove. I didn't know how to get out of that place. I must have been going 60 miles per hour.

"The mob just kept after us. I think they would have shot us. And nobody would do a damn thing to help us."

They said a woman in a ticket booth merely stared at them despite their pleas for help. And a security guard near one exit ignored their frantic calls, instead telling them they were going out the wrong exit.

The terrified group finally sped out of the drive-in, leaving behind what they described as a barrage of bottles and rocks.

What developed into a nightmarish episode started quietly when the group arrived at the drive-in about 8:30 to see Endless Love, the first of two films.

Trouble started after the younger woman went to the snack bar to get a cheeseburger.

"A young man came up to me and asked if he could carry my hamburger. "He was kind of laughing at me when I said, 'No.'"

A while later, the boys with the women were sitting outside on a blanket when they heard somebody scream something about being the "Carson Street" something - perhaps the Carson Street Gang.

The car was soon surrounded by the youths and the violence started.

"They began running over over the top of the car, jumping on the roof, tossing bottles and rocks in the windows," she said.

One of the boys said, "We didn't think they were going to do anything, but then two of them jumped on the hood and trunk and then jumped back and forth from the top of the hood.

"I was shocked. Then one of them tried to hit me, and another grabbed me and the first guy hit me on the face with his fist.

"They grabbed my friend from behind and hit him on the back."

His friend told a similar story.

"I was trying to get into the car and one guy grabbed me and I saw another guy pull a knife out from his waistband.

"My friend's mom got out of the car and tried to push one of these guys away.

"We jumped back into the car. Everybody was screaming 'Let's get out of here.'"

One of the boys said, "I was shocked by what was happening. I thought this gang was going tell us to get off their turf.

"I think they were jealous of the hot car we were in."

Once outside the theater, the younger woman passed a police car and honked, but the officer apparently didn't see them.

Several blocks from the drive-in, the battered car pulled into the parking lot of a business that was open. Carson sheriff's deputies were called.

Officers reportedly told the shaken group that gangs are a problem in the area.

Weeping and almost hysterical, the younger woman said the car she bought nine months ago probably will need several thousand dollars worth of repair work.

"They tore off the mirrors, smashed the hood and top, dented the panels and smashed out some of the windows," she said.

The entire group suffered various minor injuries from the assault.

"We all had glass fragments in our hair and we were bleeding from cuts by glass that showered us in the car," said the younger woman.

Her friend, at home and still shaken hours after the attack, said she thought about the scene from Escape From New York that she had seen in a television advertisement.

"Maybe they got all revved up and just did the same thing as in the movie to see what it felt like."

Sheriff's deputies said no suspects have been arrested.