Former LAPD Commander describes day of O.J. Simpson Bronco chase

ByMarc Brown KABC logo
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Former LAPD Commander describes day of O.J. Simpson Bronco chase
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Former LAPD Commander Dave Gascon describes what happened on the day of the O.J. Simpson Bronco chase 25 years later.

LOS ANGELES -- In the five days following the June 12, 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, O.J. Simpson had become the suspect.

He was supposed to turn himself in to police on the morning of June 17, 1994.

Dave Gascon was the Los Angeles Police Department commander in charge of media relations.

"The calls were coming in literally by the hundreds throughout the day." Gascon said. "They were coming in from everywhere."

It would be Cmdr. Gascon's job to brief the news media and announce that Simpson had turned himself in.

"We were ready to go, expecting that things were going to happen as anticipated, and they didn't," he said.

Simpson's attorney Robert Shapiro told detectives his client would surrender at 11 a.m.

But the deadline came and went. Another deadline came and went.

At 1:50 p.m., Gascon took the stage in the Parker Center auditorium to deliver a far different message.

"The comments that John Duncan had prepared for me, it had four sheets, and I'm looking at it, and there's nothing in here that I can say anymore," Gascon said. "So, I had to tell them that he had not surrendered, and we were actively searching for him."

"There was that audible, there was a gasp in that auditorium. It was so palpable, and I'm standing there. They sucked the air out of that room," Gascon added.

"My sister was in Paris and watched it live. My cousin was in Shanghai and watched it live," he said. "And a professor friend of mine was in Rio de Janeiro and watched it live."

Gascon was pretty sure Simpson either saw or heard it live as well, so he kept that in mind as he spoke.

Later in the day, Gascon watched the Bronco chase on television. He was in the room when Simpson and his friend A.C. Cowlings spoke to investigators on the phone.

Twenty-five years later, people still come up to Gascon, saying they'll never forget that jaw-dropping moment. The retired cop is quick to remind everyone of what he will never forget.

"We get all this notoriety for O.J. Simpson, the trial of the century, and the dream team and all this other nonsense," Gascon said. "Those two young people were murdered, and they did not deserve that kind of fate. We should never forget those two victims."