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Filmmaker Wants Remembrance of San Ysidro Massacre Victims

July 15, 2016

By Ana Gomez Salcido 77_WEB

Most people only remember the killer in mass shootings, but filmmaker Charlie Minn wants to help remember the victims of a local tragedy.

The San Ysidro McDonald’s Massacre was a mass shooting that occurred in, and around, a McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro on July 18, 1984. The perpetrator, 41-year-old James Huberty, shot and killed 21 people and injured 19 others before being fatally shot by a SWAT team sniper.

The shooting ranked as the deadliest mass shooting committed in the United States until the 1991 Luby’s shooting in Killeen, Texas.

The San Ysidro shooting is the second deadliest shooting rampage in which police killed the perpetrator, as opposed to comitting suicide, behind the this year’s Orlando nightclub tragedy.

“It was one of San Diego’s worst moments,” said the filmmaker to La Prensa San Diego. “Most of the victims were from Mexico or from Mexican descent. This is one of the worst stories you have ever heard about.”

The documentary titled “77 Minutes,” referring to the time it took police to take down the shooter, gives a comprehensive look at what happened inside the restaurant 32 years ago.

“This documentary is to honor the victims, to give them a voice because unfortunately with mass shootings today, the killer seems to get all the attention and we hardly know about all the stories of the innocent victims,” said Minn.

“There were some stories inside that restaurant that I think no one knows about like unknown heroes that were shielding others with their bodies so that they wouldn’t get hit. There was one man who was shot five times and was able to crawl down 25 steps of stairs and hide in a closet. He later became a police officer in Chula Vista. These are stories that I don’t think the people know about. They know about the killer, but they don’t know about the victims.”

Minn said the documentary will not even mention the killer’s name.

“I will say that people [who remember the shooting] couldn’t name one victim, but they probably know who the shooter was, and I think they have that backwards,” said the filmmaker. “As a society, glorifying killers doesn’t do us any good. The victims are the heroes but yet you hardly see any stuff about them.”

The film will feature stories from some of the survivors. Wendy Flanagan, a survivor, will be present at a press conference to be held at Southwestern College on July 18, the 32nd anniversary of the massacre.

“My job as a documentary filmmaker is to inform, educate, and raise awareness for social change, and that’s what a documentary does,” said Minn, “I’m not here to entertain. I’m here to inform and when people watch the movie they’ll walk out more informed and more educated and with a greater sense of humanity. That makes society a better place.”

“77 Minutes” opens on Friday, September 23, at Ultra Star Mission Valley Hazard Center Cinemas in San Diego.


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