NEW YORK -- Ten years ago Monday, police with guns drawn surrounded a Ford Galaxy and ordered the driver out of the car, ending a yearlong reign of terror with the arrest of the Son of Sam killer.
'How come it took you so long?' asked the tall, pudgy 24-year-old postal worker behind the wheel -- an unlikely looking killer named David Berkowitz who had stalked lovers' lanes armed with a .44-caliber pistol.
His one-man shooting spree claimed the lives of six young people and left seven others wounded. For the carnage, Berkowitz was sentenced to six 25-year-to-life prison terms.
The arrest ended one of the most dramatic manhunts in the nation's history. It came when a parking ticket issued to a car parked near the murder scene on the night of one killing was traced to Berkowitz.
Threatening letters sent to some of the gunman's neighbors also led to the arrest, which generated sensational news accounts around the world.
Now 34 years old, Berkowitz is an inmate at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y.
The shooting spree created what amounted to near-hysteria in New York City. Lovers' lanes were abandoned, young lovers kept to well-lighted places and many young women with long brown hair - seemingly the gunman's favorite targets -- cut their locks or dyed their hair to escape the killer's attention.
Meanwhile, the gunman sent letters to newspapers, signing them 'Son of Sam.' Later, Berkowitz would say a dog owned by a neighbor, Sam Carr, had spoken to him and commanded him to kill.
Police found the pistol used in the shootings in Berkowitz' car when he was arrested outside his Yonkers, N.Y., apartment house. Berkowitz pleaded guilty May 9, 1978, to all six murders.
Berkowitz was born Richard David Falco June 1, 1953, to Betty and Tony Falco. He was adopted the following year by Nathan Berkowitz, a hardware store owner, and his wife Pearl and became David Richard Berkowitz. He was 14 when he learned the Berkowitzs were not his natural parents.
Pearl Berkowitz died in 1967, a month after David entered high school. Her husband remarried in 1971.
In 1970 Berkowitz joined an auxiliary police unit as a trainee and in 1971 he enlisted in the Army for three years. After training at Fort Dix, N.J., and Fort Polk, La., he spent a year in South Korea. His last 18 months of service were spent at Fort Knox, Ky.
He became a postal clerk in March 1977, by which time the killing had begun.
Berkowitz was slashed on the throat by another prisoner on July 1979 but recovered.