In 1973, freelance photographer Anthony Roberts was walking through a parking lot in Los Angeles, California one sunny afternoon when he heard a woman screaming. Approaching the scene, he found a man beating a woman who was lying on the ground. Unarmed, Roberts began taking pictures of the scene, calling out to the man that his photo was being taken. The assailant, who was allegedly trying to kidnap the woman, yelled that he didn’t care and continued to beat the woman while Roberts remained a helpless onlooker.

The noise of the assault caught the attention of a security guard, who responded to the incident with his weapon drawn. As Roberts continued to snap pictures, sure that the police would arrive at any moment, the man revealed a knife and threatened to cut the woman’s throat. The security guard shot the assailant in the head, killing him and saving the woman’s life. The final picture Roberts took before the man died, just before the security guard took the fatal shot, became known as “Fatal Hollywood Drama” and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974.

“Fatal Hollywood Drama” was the final photo of an entire series that Roberts took documenting the struggle. The series of photos ran in the Los Angeles Times the day after the incident and became national news. The Associated Press nominated the photos for the Pulitzer Prize for spot photography. The series also later was awarded the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Roberts continued with a career in journalistic and commercial photography, and he also became an actor.

12 Comments

  1. COtt says:

    Browning High Power for the win.

    At least it looks like a BHP.

    Like

  2. Wild, wild west says:

    “That’s what I call educating people.” Drill Instructor in Sand in the Wind by Robert Roth, 1973, arguably the best Viet Nam war novel written, and most people have never heard of it.

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    1. LSWCHP says:

      Jeez, I read that book many many many years ago. It was a great story.

      Like

  3. LSWCHP says:

    What struck me about this is the lack of blood. Not a drop that I can see. How does that work?

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    1. LSWCHP says:

      I take that back.

      Upon zooming in, it looks like there’s a small pool in the shadow cast by his upper body.

      Like

    2. Shawn says:

      where you been so long?

      Like

      1. LSWCHP says:

        Injured my right hand about a month ago and at the same time my wife had to go to London to look after her Dad when he got Covid. It’s been pretty quiet in my AO. Got the stitches put of the hand a couple of days ago.

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        1. Shawn says:

          how is your hand and how is the FIL?

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          1. LSWCHP says:

            FIL is doing fine now. I’ve got some nerve damage (numbness) right on the end and around the first knuckle of my trigger finger. Bummer. I hope it heals over time.

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            1. Shawn says:

              good well soon brother

              Like

  4. ptmn says:

    Since this occurred in LA, it’s a good thing this happened back in 1973. If it happened in LA today, the progressive District Attorney George Gascon would have brought the security guard up on murder charges for saving the woman’s life. He would also charge the security guard company for their employee using deadly force instead of calling a social worker for a man in crisis. There would also be riots from progressive protesters against “militarized” security guards armed with a pistol chambered in a caliber that uncle joe says can “blow out a lung.” LA is a lost cause due to the progressives and liberals.

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    1. Shawn says:

      no, the dead guy was white

      Like

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