Fugitive pleads no contest to shooting at South City police in 1968

Courtesy photoRonald Stanley Bridgeforth

A 67-year-old man who fled before he could be sentenced more than four decades ago for shooting at South San Francisco police finally admitted to the crime in court Tuesday morning.

Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth pleaded no contest in San Mateo County Superior Court to one count of assault with a firearm on a police officer, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Under 1969 sentencing guidelines, Bridgeforth could face between one and 15 years in prison, according to Wagstaffe. Prosecutors have yet to decide what penalty they will seek.

“In our book there is a presumption that prison is where that person belongs, but we’ll keep an open mind until we see the pre-sentence report,” Wagstaffe said.

Bridgeforth, who turned himself in two weeks ago, admitted to firing at officers outside a South San Francisco department store in 1968. He and two other men had tried to use false credit cards to buy toys and clothes for youth the group had been organizing in San Francisco’s Fillmore district during the civil rights movement, according to his attorney Paul Harris.

Harris has said his client wanted to correct a one-time “aberration” in his life and be a positive example for his sons.

No officers were hit, and Bridgeforth was arrested trying to escape. But before Bridgeforth could be sentenced in 1969, he disappeared.

According to Harris, Bridgeforth had recently been teaching at a community college in Michigan under an assumed name.

A separate charge against Bridgeforth, for his alleged involvement in the 1971 fatal shooting of a San Francisco police sergeant, was dismissed after Bridgeforth turned himself in on the South San Francisco case.

Bridgeforth is out of custody after posting $25,000 bail. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 3.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocalSan Francisco

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

San Francisco DJ and producer Jah Yzer livestreams most mornings from his home. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Roots & Tings build community through music

Lateef the Truthspeaker, Jah Yzer and Winstrong call for voting as a form of healing

On Oct. 13, people lined up to vote early for the presidential election in Southlake, Texas. <ins>(Shutterstock)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Five things to watch for in the run-up to Nov. 3

Down-ballot races, as much as the presidency, will determine the future course of this nation

WeChat (Shutterstock)
U.S. District Court denies Trump request to shutdown WeChat app

A federal judge in San Francisco denied a request by the U.S.… Continue reading

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Most Read