north hollywood Bank Shootout Highlights (2/28/1997)
A group of robbers dressed in dark clothes and wearing ski masks tried to rob a bank today and came out firing, unleashing their bullets on police, bystanders, cars and even the television helicopters broadcasting the situation live. When the gunfire came to an end, two robbers were dead and at least five bystanders and eight police officers were wounded by the gunfire. Two other police officers were injured in a car accident. Customers and employees inside the bank locked themselves in a vault for protection. People in a market across from the bank were trapped, and police and others in nearby businesses took cover wherever they could. After the initial gunfire, a manhunt began for one or more suspects who were believed to have fled the scene. Nearby schools and freeways were closed, and residents were told to stay inside their homes. At one point this afternoon, the LAPD's armored battering ram, looking for suspects, smashed through the wall of a home in North Hollywood...they didn't find any suspects. The shootout started at the Bank of America in North Hollywood when officers responded to an alarm shortly after the bank opened. According to police, as many as five robbers were believed to be involved in the attempted robbery. After the robbery went awry, the robbers ran from the bank and one of them strolled back and forth in an adjacent parking lot, shooting off round after round from an ak-47 style assault rifle until he was shot to death by police. The robbers had with them an arsenal of what appeared to be military-style semiautomatic guns. The first police officers on the scene confronted the bandits with pistols. According to Los Angeles Police Chief Willie Williams, investigators aren't sure whether any suspects escaped from the scene of the attempted robbery that turned into a shootout with police officers. According to police, two robbers were killed, five bystanders were injured and at least eight police officers were wounded.