Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

AMBUSH: THE BRINKS ROBBERY OF 1981

"He Shot Him! I Didn't Shoot Him!"

Kathy Boudin
Kathy Boudin (AP/World Wide)

When the shooting started, Kathy Boudin was in the street on the driver's side of the U-Haul. As the bullets flew, she started to run from the scene. At that moment, an off duty New York City Corrections Officer, Michael Koch, was driving his camper northbound on the thruway when he noticed that the police had stopped a U-Haul truck on the entrance ramp. As he slowed his vehicle, he saw a girl sprinting full speed away from the police cars. For no reason other than instinct, he decided to apprehend the girl. He jumped out of his car and gave chase. Running across six lanes of mid-day traffic, which almost cost him his life, Koch chased the girl down until he caught her. It was Kathy Boudin and she was frantic.

"He shot him, I didn't shoot him, he shot him!" she screamed over and over. Boudin tried to get away from Koch but he pushed her in front of him and forced her back to the shooting scene.

At the same time, Detective Keenan, though wounded, managed to get to his police radio and call for help.

"We've got two officers shot up here! Mountainview Avenue!" He said. Dr. Dreyer, who attempted to give medical aid to the wounded, picked up the radio microphone in P.O. Waverly Brown's car.

 "Hello? Hello?" he said into the mike, "Officer here" The dispatcher then interrupted with an urgent announcement.

"I have a report that my cars are supposedly involved in a shooting with a U- Haul van at Waldron and 59!" he said.

Every police officer in the area began the race to the thruway ramp. Chief Alan Colsey started in that direction on Rt. 59. Det. Jim Stewart of the Rockland County D.A.'s Office and his partner were already en route, having heard the original Brink's robbery broadcast. As police units closed in on the village of Nyack, police dispatchers updated the available information.

"381 units, 381 to all units responding. I have a report that all of the occupants involved in the shooting jumped into a large white Buick that was heading north on Mountainview Avenue. There are definitely automatic weapons involved!"

The intersection of Mountainview and the thruway ramp was complete pandemonium. There was blood everywhere. Police cars had their windows shot out. Pedestrians and witnesses clogged the streets trying to help or do whatever they could. More and more police arrived at the scene. They screamed over the radio for medical aid, supplied additional information and gave conflicting descriptions of the suspects. There were many witnesses to the shooting including terrified motorists who were forced to stop in traffic while the firefight went on right in front of their eyes. Cops shouted questions at Boudin who meekly denied any involvement. A passing ambulance was commandeered after two other ambulances became involved in accidents while responding to the scene. Sirens blasted away in the distance, growing louder and louder as they got closer to the scene. Everywhere, people were running around the intersection, not sure what to do and yet wanting to do everything. And in the midst of all the chaos, Chief Colsey's desperate voice could be heard in between frantic radio transmissions requesting assistance at a car crash where someone was being held at gunpoint.

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