At 2:16 a.m. on Nov. 5, the robbers were southbound in Sarah's Volvo on 1-805 in San Diego, Beruman behind the wheel and Llamas along as a passenger. Two California Highway Patrol officers in a marked squad car suspected that the Volvo might be the one involved in a recent string of San Diego robberies. When they checked the license plate and found that it did not belong to the Volvo, the officers hit the lights and siren and pulled the car over.
David pulled back the slide on the Beretta as one of the officers approached the car: click-click. Llamas, according to a statement she made to the police, started crying and begged him not to shoot, fearing that she would be killed in the crossfire. "I never thought I would be around when an arrest [happened]," she said. "[David] told me they would have to kill him to take him back to prison. He would shoot the police...but he was never going back to prison."
Before David could make the most critical choice of his life, Beruman gunned the Volvo back onto the road. A chase ensued, with the robbers careening down the freeway and the troopers following. The CHP pursued at up to 130 mph, radioing other units for backup, but they were not quick enough. The fugitives exited I-805, and by the time the CHP made the same turn, the Volvo had vanished down some dark lane.
"I would counsel with him and counsel with him," Billy said at the Masters. "I would say, 'Son, what is the most important thing in your life right now?' " The old champion took a deep breath, looking up at the spreading branches of the big oak tree by the Augusta National clubhouse.
"He'd think a minute and say, 'Freedom.' " ON THE quiet, sunny, Saturday morning of Nov. 6, Gian Scozzaro met David. Scozzaro, a 25-year-old English-language instructor, lives in Pacific Beach, about 15 minutes from the Mexican border. At about nine, he was in the parking lot outside his duplex apartment, loading his black '97 Audi A4 sedan for a trip to Los Angeles. "I was an easy target," Scozzaro says, remembering how the young man in the T-shirt and " Eddie Bauer-type" button-down shirt had jumped over the bushes and come up on him from the street. "He looked like someone you'd find in a coffee shop—a bit of a derelict but not too out of the norm for a beach community, not super doped out." But then the young man pulled a black handgun from the front of his pants and said, "Give me the f———keys or I'll kill you."
"I could tell from the look in his eyes he wasn't kidding," Scozzaro says. "He looked really vicious. So I told him, 'Calm down; here are the keys. Take the car.' " As the carjacker started to drive away, he rolled down the window and looked at Scozzaro, the vicious look replaced by something more vulnerable. Curiously emboldened, Scozzaro said, "You made a mistake. You're not going to get away with this."
"He looked straight at me and seemed to absorb my words," Scozzaro says. "Two seconds." Then the carjacker peeled out of the parking lot and disappeared down the road.
A few days later neighbors told Scozzaro they had seen his car on the evening news. The robber had been captured in Las Vegas. "I was really angry about it," says Scozzaro, "but oddly enough I felt sorry for him. I had the urge to visit him and give him a book or something." Specifically, Scozzaro wanted to give Casper From Onions to Pearls, a memoir by a former drug dealer about his spiritual awakening. Says Scozzaro, "I don't know how to explain it, but the only thing that brought me peace was feeling bad for him."
When his car was returned, Scozzaro went through it with the police. In addition to his own possessions they found burglary tools, a CD-ROM of children's Bible stories, several artist's cases filled with brushes, pencils and drawings—"wacky-looking people, like a body walking through an alley," Scozzaro says. "Cool stuff but sort of weird." There were also "philosophical musings, God-searching sort of thoughts" scribbled on pieces of paper that Scozzaro discovered in his bag.
"He was obviously searching for something," Scozzaro says.