Later in the campaign these converted warehouses would be referred to as “barrios on the half-shell”. The floor was covered with cubicles that were jury-rigged from cardboard, pallets, plastic tarps and corrugated tin. The cubicles were all different sizes and shapes but most of them were about 12’ by 24’ on a side.
The recruits manfully attempted to complete their mission. They radioed that they were encountering resistance. They started pushing residents toward the west doors. They butt-stroked people trying to get around them.
The single officer in the west APC was monitoring their chips. Pulse rates went from 120 beats-per-minute to 150, then 180 bpm. He was so overwhelmed with data that he never looked at the live feeds from the helmet cams.
The soldiers maintained fire discipline until one of them butt-stroked a 12 year old girl. The girl’s father saw them do it and he picked up a tool and charged the group of three soldiers. One of the soldiers panicked. His weapon was set on full automatic and he emptied his magazine into the father. After that, things happened so fast it was impossible to sort out afterward.
The officer watched the pulse rates go from 180 bpm to 220 bpm as the teams were swarmed. Shortly afterward the signal from the chips of the troopers inside the warehouse were lost.
The remaining teams were swarmed and their signals were lost.
Residents gushed out of the side doors and overwhelmed the door guards.
The weapon crews on the APCs hastily cranked their weapons around and downward. Their vehicles were surrounded by a few angry residents attempting to rock and flip over the vehicles. The gunners responded by firing into the building.
The two ounce, steel-cored projectiles were capable of penetrating the web of an 18" I beam. The thin sheet metal sides of the building did not slow them done. Neither did the pallets, tarps or cardboard.
The crews started out with two second bursts. The 80 rounds from each APC passed through the building and raked the APC crews on the other end of the building. The crews of the APCs on both ends of the building assumed that the fire that was hitting their vehicles originated from inside the building. They lost discipline and went full-auto, sustained fire.
The forensics crew sent in by the International Red Cross later determined that most of the residents cooked with LP gas and kerosene. The hail of bullets punctured the LP cylinders. It atomized whatever liquid fuel was in the tanks when they hit them. It turned the one million square foot warehouse with the fifty foot ceilings into a very efficient air-fuel bomb.
Video was streamed across the globe. Bona-Brown’s censors were not able to stop all of the video signals. In many cases, the censors sympathized with the residents of the warehouse. They had neither the stomach or political will to want to stop the signals.
The Red Cross estimated that at least 4000 Angelenos had been killed in the action. The soldiers suffered 100% casualties. Most of the soldier’s original injuries were from the over-pressure of the blast. Prompt medical attention could have saved them but there were no medics to attend to their injuries. In most cases, the last thing they saw were the faces of enraged Angelenos coming out of the surrounding neighborhoods and chunks of broken concrete hurling toward their head.
Thus ended the battle that later became known as the start of the first Cali revolution.
Next Installment, Start of Part 2
Next Installment, Start of Part 2