Altamont: Case Closed

Investigators have officially closed the books on the investigation into the stabbing death of 18-year-old Meredith Hunter at the disastrous Rolling Stones concert at the Altamont, Calif., speedway December 6, 1969.

A theory that a second Hells Angels motorcycle gang member assisted in killing Hunter was officially dismissed May 25th.

Hunter was killed during the ill-fated free concert, billed as the “Woodstock of the West.” The Rolling Stones hired the Hells Angels as security for the event, which drew about 300,000 people.

As the Stones began playing “Sympathy For The Devil,” Hunter was stabbed and killed near the stage by Hells Angels member Alan Passaro. The death and resulting chaos were shown in the 1970 documentary “Gimme Shelter.”

Passaro was tried and acquitted of first-degree murder in 1971 after a jury concluded he acted in self-defense because Hunter was carrying a gun. However, the case remained open with rumors that a second, unidentified assailant had inflicted the fatal wounds.

Alameda County sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Dudek said that after a renewed investigation over the last two years, it was determined that Passaro, who died in 1985, was the only person who stabbed Hunter, and did so only after Hunter pointed a gun at him.

Dudek said enhanced slow-motion footage from the documentary shows Hunter brandishing the gun just before Passaro stabbed him.