The Zebra Killers
On the first of the month, two young Salvation Army cadets were targeted.
Thomas Rainwater, 19, and Linda Story, 21, were both first-year cadets at the Salvation Army School for Officers' Training Center at 1450 Laguna Street.
At 9 p.m., the cadets finished a study period, signed out of the center, and walked toward the Mayfair market two blocks away for a snack. They had an hour and half free until their 10:30 curfew. The streets around the training center were filled with other young cadets dressed in the Salvation Army's signature navy-blue jackets.
A short distance from the market, a black man who had been following them overtook them and abruptly wheeled about. He had a gun in his hand. When the terrified couple turned to flee, the man shot each of them twice in the back, then sprinted away, the Chronicle reported.
Rainwater died, Story survived.
Two cops were in a patrol car a block away and heard the shots. They sped to the scene, arriving 15 seconds after the attack.
"If he'd run the other way, toward us, we'd have got him," one of the officers told the paper afterward.
Some 50 police officers were summoned to fan across the city in search of the killer, but it was a futile effort. All they had on him were the four .32 caliber casings he'd left behind on the pavement.
Salvation Army Captain Alfred R. Van Cleef told the Chronicle that Rainwater had recently returned from a two-week stint in Arizona, where he'd preached to Salvation Army congregations in Tucson and Phoenix.
"It's ironic," Van Cleef said. "The last sermon he gave was titled "One Life to Live — One Life to Give."
Rainwater attended Monte Vista Christian High School in Watsonville, California and had received a scholarship to attend Bethany Bible College in Santa Cruz for a year before joining the Salvation Army in 1973.
"He was very dedicated to the principles of Christianity," Van Cleef said. "He said he wanted to work with children."
Easter Sunday the Zebra Killers struck again. Ward Anderson and Terry White were waiting for a bus when black gunmen wounded them.