The United States Secret Service is synonymous with the protection of the President. The legislation creating the agency was on Abraham Lincoln’s desk when he was assassinated on the evening of April 14, 1865, and the organization was formally established ten weeks later.
The Secret Service, however, was not initially given the task of protecting the President; that responsibility came thirty-seven years later following the assassination of President William McKinley.
As the Civil War ended in April 1865, a currency war was still being fought. Over a third of the currency in circulation was believed to be bogus. The Department of the Treasury established the Secret Service to combat the counterfeit currency crisis. Though it is now under the Department of Homeland Security, investigating counterfeiting crimes is still one of the Secret Service’s primary responsibilities.
Twenty-six-year-old Julie Cross was one of the few female Secret Service Special Agents in 1980. While investigating a counterfeiting operation on June 4, she became the first female Secret Service Special Agent to be killed in the line of duty.
Julie Cross seemed destined for a law enforcement career, first in her community and then serving her country. Her interest in police work started when she was young. She lost both of her parents by age ten and was raised by her brother, a reserve police officer.
After graduating with a Criminal Justice degree from San Diego State University, Julie became an officer with the San Diego Police Department. Three years later, she was accepted by the United States Secret Service.
On June 1, 1980, Julie was assigned to a team of agents investigating a man suspected of producing counterfeit currency in Los Angeles.
Three days later, on June 4, eight Secret Service Agents were scattered in a section of Westchester, an area of Los Angeles near the International Airport. The agents were staking out the apartment complex of the suspected counterfeiter.
Julie and her partner, Special Agent Lloyd Bulman, were in an unmarked car at the street’s end. They were assigned to follow the suspect if he exited the apartment and entered his vehicle. Another Secret Service Agent sat in an unmarked van across the street from the residence.
The agents were awaiting word that the warrant had been signed to arrest the suspect. Agents Bulman and Cross noticed a brown vehicle, either an early ’70s Buick or Pontiac, drive past them and turn a corner. Approximately five minutes later, they saw the same vehicle drive past them again, but this time the driver parked 100 feet in front of them. Two black men exited the vehicle and went into a different apartment complex from the one under surveillance.
Approximately five minutes later, the agents saw the men exit the apartment complex, enter their vehicle, and drive off again.
Five to ten minutes later, after darkness had fallen, Agent Cross, sitting on the passenger side of the surveillance car, noticed a man with a gun approaching from the rear. Another armed man approached the driver’s side of the vehicle. Julie was able to exit the car and get her gun drawn on her assailant. She had him place his hands on the vehicle, but the second gunman got the drop on Agent Bulman and held a gun on him before he could get out. A standoff ensued.
With his gun aimed at Bulman, the driver’s side assailant ordered Agent Cross to let his partner go; she refused. Bulman tried to reason with his assailant; the gunmen seemed surprised and panicked when he told them he and Cross were Secret Service Agents.
Agent Cross’s assailant came to the driver’s side of the car, took the key out of the ignition, and removed a shotgun from inside. Agent Bulman did not see what occurred, but the assailant had somehow freed himself from Agent Cross.
What happened next is also not clear. The next thing Agent Bulman noticed, his partner jumped into the front of the car, and three gunshots rang out. As Bulman then fought with his assailant outside the car, Agent Cross’s assailant shot several times but did not hit him. Bulman pretended he had been hit and feigned being dead. As he did so, the assailants made their way to their car and fled.
Bulman ran back to his car to radio for help. None of the other Secret Service agents had heard the gunshots, which were drowned out by the roar of low-flying jets.
Police and ambulances arrived quickly, but not in time. Special Agent Julie Cross was pronounced dead three days after beginning her assignment in Los Angeles.
She was the first female Special Agent to be killed in the 115-year history of the Secret Service.
The attackers made off with two weapons from the agents, a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum Revolver and a Remington Model 870 shotgun.
Under hypnosis, Agent Bulman recalled details enabling composite sketches of the suspects to be developed. Both assailants were black. One stood around 6’2″ and the other around 5’10”. Each weighed approximately 180-190 lbs.
The men were driving a brown 1970-72 Buick or Potomac two-door car.
In 1992, twelve years after the murder of Julie Cross, Andre Alexander was arrested for a 1978 triple murder in Palms. The victims, coincidentally, were involved in counterfeiting.
Alexander was operating a money-order forgery scheme and had not paid his cohorts. After they threatened to go to the police, he murdered them. Alexander was convicted of the triple murder.
In their investigation of Alexander, authorities found evidence suggesting his involvement in the murder of Julie Cross twelve years earlier. He bore a resemblance to the composite of one of the suspects, and a pair of prescription glasses found at the scene was identical to a pair he wore in 1980.
Lloyd Bulman identified Alexander as the passenger-side assailant from a photo line-up. Vehicle records showed Alexander drove a medium-sized faded brown car at the time of the murder.
At his trial, Alexander’s former girlfriend testified a blood-splattered Alexander arrived at her house on the evening of the murder carrying a shotgun in a blood-soaked bag. She also said he told her he had murdered someone near the airport but pressured her not to say anything.
Terry Brock, a long-time friend of Alexander, was identified by Special Agent Bulman as the second gunman. At the time of the shooting, Alexander’s girlfriend was Brock’s sister.
Andre Alexander was convicted of the murder of Secret Service Special Agent Julie Cross in 1996 and was sentenced to death. His final appeal was exhausted in 2010. He remains on death row and is incarcerated at California’s infamous San Quentin prison.
I could not find any source stating what punishment Terry brock received.
Investigators are certain the murder of Secret Service Agent Julie Cross was a random act unrelated to the counterfeit operation she was investigating.
It was only a coincidence that Andre Alexander was later involved in counterfeiting. I found nothing indicating he was associated with the counterfeiter Special Agents Cross and Bulman were staking out on the evening of her murder.
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