Incident Summary:

10/20/1973: Quita and Richard Hague, a white couple, were abducted at gunpoint by three men in a van in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood in San Francisco, California, United States. The assailants assaulted Richard with a wrench, sexually assaulted Quita, and slashed both victims with a long machete-like blade. The victims were left on the Southern Pacific railroad tracks, about four and a half miles from Telegraph Hill. Richard survived, but was badly injured, and Quita had been killed. Two of the perpetrators, Jesse Cooks and Larry Green, were convicted in March 1976. The third perpetrator, Anthony C. Harris, was given immunity in exchange for his testimony. The assailants were black Muslims who followed the Nation of Islam and believed that they had to "destroy the enemy" and "kill devils," which they interpreted as white people. This was the first incident in a series of 20 racially motivated attacks (with 23 victims) by the perpetrators who came to be know as the Zebra killers.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:


San Francisco

Location Details:
Telegraph Hill toward Columbus Avenue, approximately one block from victims' residence in San Francisco; in van; Twenty fourth Street and Minnesota, near the Southern Pacific tracks

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Kidnapping)
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Not applicable
Specific Description white couple, Quita and Richard Hague
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 2
US Hostages 2
Days of Kidnapping 0
Outcome Combination
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Unknown Gun Type
Melee Blunt Object
Melee Knife or Other Sharp Object
Weapon Details
gun, rope, a lug wrench, and a long machete-like blade
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?Yes
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information Quita Hague suffered near decapitation and machete-like wounds to her face, neck, cervical spine, shoulder blades, scapula, jaw, cheekbones, carotid arteries, jugular veins, hypopharynx, and epiglottis. The eight Zebra killers were black Muslims, who belonged to the San Francisco chapter of the independent socio-religious sect, the Nation of Islam. The perpetrators followed the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, and believed that their deity motivated them to kill the "devil," which the men interpreted to mean whites people. The Nation of Islam paid for the legal representation of most members during their trials for these attacks. This was the first incident in a series of 20 racially motivated attacks (with 23 victims) by the perpetrators who came to be known as the Zebra killers. See also events 197310220003, 197310290003, 197311250004, 197312110002, 197312130001, 197312130002, 197312200003, 197312200004, 197312220002, 197312220003, 197312230001, 197401280001, 197401280002, 197401280003, 197401280004, 197404010003, 197404140003, and 197404160003
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Zebra killers No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 3
Number of Captured Perpetrators 3
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 1 Fatalities / 1 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 1
Number of U.S. Fatalities 1
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 1
Number of U.S. Injured 1
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Prentice Earl Sanders and Bennett Cohen, "The Zebra Murders: A Season of Killing, Racial Madness, and Civil Rights," Arcade Publishing, Inc., 2006.
Clark Howard, "Zebra: The true account of the 179 days of terror in San Francisco," Richard Marek Publishers, 1979.