It was the evening of 5 December 1978, just a few hours before the referendum on the new Spanish constitution was due to be held. Deputy Commissioner Gabriel Alonso Perejil (62) of the national Police, who had two children and was about to retire; Commissioner José María Sarrais Llasera (56), father of five children; and Municipal Police officer Ángel Cruz Salcines (60) were having a drink in the Urgull Bar in San Sebastian, close to the Aldapeta police barracks and the San Sebastian police station.
Three members of ETA walked into the bar. One of them ordered the customers and staff to lie on the ground while the other two opened fire on the officers. Gabriel Alonso was killed instantly; José María Sarrais was injured and tried to hide, but he was shot again as he lay on the floor; and Ángel Cruz died as he was being taken to Nuestra Señora de Aránzazu Hospital. At midnight, ETA hacked into the broadcasts of Spanish state television, TVE, to issue a statement denouncing the constitution and play the Basque anthem, “Eusko Gudariak”.