After botching a prior robbery, a group of volatile young gunmen commandeered an electronics store, a Good Guys, in Sacramento. It was a busy Saturday afternoon. The gunmen held everyone in the store – more than 50 people – hostage for nine hours. It remains the largest civilian hostage-taking in American history. That was in 1991. More than 20 years later, survivors are retelling what happened that day on the ABC TV show In An Instant, on March 28, 9pm.
The four hostage-takers were young Vietnamese refugees – three were brothers Loi Khac Nguyen, 21, Pham Khac Nguyen, 19, and Long Khac Nguyen, 17, and their friend, Cuong Tran, 17. They demanded $4 million, (40) 1,000-year-old ginseng roots, and a 50-troop military helicopter. They said they were going to take everyone to Thailand, after stopping in Alaska for fuel. Three hostages were killed; two employees and one customer. The only hostage-taker to survive was the eldest, Loi Khac Nguyen. He was sentenced to 49 consecutive life terms in prison, which he is serving at the California State Prison in Lancaster. At his trial, the motive was revealed. The young men “were frustrated by their inability to learn English and find jobs.”