On this date in 1997, LAPD officers patrolling North Hollywood saw two heavily armed masked men enter the Bank of America Branch on Laurel Canyon Blvd. Several minutes later the men left the bank with over $300,000 in cash. By that time, several other police units had arrived on the scene to provide backup. The robbers, Larry Phillips (above left) and Emil Matasareanu (above right) were ready for a confrontation with police; they were each carrying multiple weapons, had thousands of rounds of ammunition, and had taken phenobarbital prior to the robbery to calm their nerves. To make matters worse, they were both wearing body armor.
The robbers opened fire on the officers. In the ensuing gun battle, which lasted over 40 minutes, officers fired over 600 rounds, the robbers over 1000. Overmatched by the robbers’ superior firepower, officers went to a local gun store to procure better weapons.
The shootout ended with the death of both suspects. Ten officers and seven civilians were injured.
You can see pictures from my 2008 trip to the scene here.
Here’s a video about the robbery:
Wikipedia – North Hollywood shootout