February 2nd In Seal Beach History

On this date in 1954, two Marines, Leroy Grant and Sgt. Jack Yasser, entered the Motorome motel office at Twelfth Street and Pacific Coast Highway and demanded money from owner Luke W. Purdue at gunpoint. When they forced him into a second room where the money was kept, Purdue’s wife, Bertha ran from the room.

Motorome MotelOne of the gunmen started after her, but Purdue blocked their way. “You’ve gone far enough,” he said.

The two would-be robbers turned and fled. Purdue grabbed his .38 revolver and shot four times. Yasser fell and dropped his .45 automatic before getting to his feet to escape with his partner.

Luke Purdue show wife Bertha where he winged one of the gunmen.

Luke Purdue shows wife Bertha where he winged one of the gunmen.

Hours later, Grant and Yasser were arrested at the Santa Ana Lighter-Than-Air Base after Yasser visited the base dispensary for treatment of bullet wounds to his right elbow and hip.

– Michael Dobkins

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