The FBI, determined to prevent any enhancement of the BPP leadership’s effectiveness, decided to set up an arms raid on Hampton’s Chicago apartment. FBI informant William O’Neal provided them with detailed information about Hampton’s apartment, including the location of furniture and the bed in which Hampton and his then-pregnant girlfriend slept. An augmented, 14-man team of the SAO — Special Prosecutions Unit — was organized for a pre-dawn raid armed with a warrant for illegal weapons.
On the evening of December 3, Hampton taught a political education course at a local church, which was attended by most members. Afterwards, as was typical, several Panthers retired to the Monroe Street apartment to spend the night, including Hampton and Deborah Johnson (also known as Akua Njeri), Blair Anderson, Ronald “Doc” Satchell, Harold Bell, Verlina Brewer, Louis Truelock, Brenda Harris, and Mark Clark.
Upon arrival, they were met by O’Neal, who had prepared a late dinner, which the group ate around midnight. O’Neal had slipped the powerful barbiturate sleep agent, secobarbitol, into a drink that Hampton consumed during the dinner, in order to sedate Hampton so he would not awaken during the subsequent raid. O’Neal left at this point, and, at about 1:30 a.m., Hampton fell asleep in mid-sentence talking to his mother on the telephone. Although Hampton was not known to take drugs, Cook County chemist Eleanor Berman would report that she ran two separate tests which each showed a powerful barbiturate had been introduced into Hampton’s blood. An FBI chemist would later fail to find similar traces, but Berman stood by her findings.
At 4:00 a.m., the heavily armed police team arrived at the site, divided into two teams, eight for the front of the building and six for the rear. At 4:45 a.m., they stormed into the apartment.
Mark Clark, sitting in the front room of the apartment with a shotgun in his lap, was on security duty. He was shot in the heart and died instantly. His gun fired a single round which was later determined to be caused by a reflexive death convulsion after the raiding team shot him; this was the only shot the Panthers fired.
Automatic gunfire then converged at the head of the south bedroom where Hampton slept, unable to awaken as a result of the barbiturates the FBI infiltrator had slipped into his drink. He was lying on a mattress in the bedroom with his pregnant fiancée, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant with their child. Two officers found him wounded in the shoulder, and fellow Black Panther Harold Bell reported that he heard the following exchange:
“That’s Fred Hampton.”
“Is he dead?… Bring him out.”
“He’s barely alive.
“He’ll make it.”
Two shots were heard, which it was later discovered were fired point blank in Hampton’s head. According to Johnson, one officer then said:
“He’s good and dead now.”
Hampton’s body was dragged into the doorway of the bedroom and left in a pool of blood. The officers then directed their gunfire towards the remaining Panthers, who had been sleeping in the north bedroom (Satchel, Anderson, and Brewer). Verlina Brewer, Ronald “Doc” Satchel, Blair Anderson, and Brenda Harris were seriously wounded, then beaten and dragged into the street, where they were arrested on charges of aggravated assault and the attempted murder of the officers. They were each held on US$100,000 bail.