ABC News reports that for 42 years, Ronald Bridgeforth lived under an alias and settled into a comfortable existence in Michigan, where he raised his family, earned a Master’s degree and worked as a college guidance counselor. Nobody but his wife knew he was a fugitive, living as Cole Lee Jordan, hiding since getting into a shootout with police at a San Francisco discount store 42 years ago.
His years of hiding were over in 2012. A judge sentenced Bridgeworth, 67, to one year in a county jail, followed by probation for that 1968 shootout. Bridgeforth, who will likely only serve half of his sentence, told judge Lisa Novak his actions were “misguided” and “reckless.”
“I am called to teach and I am called to heal, and I am asking you this morning to give me the opportunity to continue this work in my community,” he said in court.
Police did not catch up with Bridgeforth. His conscience did.
On Nov. 5, 1968, the 23-year-old Bridgeforth opened fire on San Francisco police after he was confronted for allegedly using a stolen credit card to buy $29 worth of clothes and toys. No one was injured.
After calling ahead on Nov. 10, 2011, Bridgeforth arrived at the Hall of Justice in Redwood City, Calif., and surrendered to police.
“He said it was the right thing to do and it’s all about family,” Bridgeforth’s attorney Paul Harris told ABCNews.com after his client surrendered. “He wanted his sons to grow up to be the man he was today, not the young man he was on Nov. 5, 1968.”
Bridgeforth’s sons are blessed. They have an honorable father, even with a stained past. Whether you have always done everything right or really screwed things up, your life is a narrative beautifully designed to teach and inspire your children. Don’t shortchange them by not sharing from your past experiences.