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Jerome Crowe, the FBI agent who delivered the ransom money in the Frank Sinatra Jr. kidnapping, dies at 93

Steve Marble, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

The shootout at a house in South Los Angeles was one of the fiercest gun battles in the city's history, with thousands of rounds fired. More than 500 officers were called to the scene and the shootout was carried live on television.

In the end, the house caught on fire -- perhaps from a tear gas canister or a bullet striking a Molotov cocktail -- and six SLA members who'd holed up in the house were found dead. No law enforcement officers or civilians were injured, even though the neighborhood teemed with spectators during the spectacle.

But any hope of capturing Hearst, now regarded as a fugitive after participating in a bank robbery with SLA members, dissolved when the smoke cleared. She'd left the house the previous day.

Born Oct. 4, 1924, in Cocoa, Fla., Crowe was the youngest of three children. He played football and ran track and field in high school and then followed one of his brothers into the Army in 1943 during World War II. He served in Europe and was discharged three years later.

After graduating from Stetson University in Central Florida, Crowe joined the FBI and was dispatched to Seattle, where his supervisor was Mark Felt, the career FBI man who was eventually identified as The Washington Post's highly useful source "Deep Throat" in the Watergate scandal.

A year later, Crowe was reassigned to L.A., where he spent the rest of his career before retiring in 1979. He earned a master's degree from Cal State Los Angeles and had a second career as the director of security for Gibraltar Savings & Loan.

 

In retirement, he and his wife, Margarita, traveled and he chased his passion for deep-sea fishing to Hawaii, Mexico and Alaska.

Crowe is survived by his wife; sons Bob and Jerry, a former Los Angeles Times staff writer; daughter Nancy Schoonover; and three grandchildren.

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