Fugitive turns himself in after 40 years

SAN MATEO, CA (KTVU/CNN) - After decades on the run a college counselor suspected of shooting a police officer has turned himself in to authorities.

Ronald Bridgeforth was 25-years-old when he was convicted of the shooting of a South San Francisco police officer in 1968. While on bail, he took off skipping a sentencing hearing.

"This seems to be the right thing to do, and in the end it's all about family," Bridgeforth said.

Bridgeforth also faced charges of being the get-away driver in the 1971 fatal shooting of San Francisco police sergeant, John Young.  Prosecutors say Bridgeforth was a member of the Black Liberation Army, a violent offshoot of the Black Panthers.

After 42 years as a fugitive, Bridgeforth is turning himself in. According to his attorney, the timing of surrender has to do with the fact that his sons are grown and he wants them to see him do the right thing.

"He wanted to stand up and take responsibility for that one day, that aberration in the arc of his life," said Bridgeforth attorney, Paul Harris.

A prosecutor offered her take:

"There are a lot of reasons one might show up after 42 years," said San Mateo Prosecutor Karen Guidotti. "One of them being that the San Francisco homicide has gone away."

Prosecutors essentially said, "It's about time."

"I think these police officers have gone through their entire careers now and now retired without seeing any justice accomplished," Guidotti said.

The arrest warrant issued for Bridgeforth in that case was just revoked and all charges against him in San Francisco have been dropped.

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