The streets of Los Angeles were literally turned into a war zone on Friday morning 2/28/1997. Bandits who botched a bank robbery turned their automatic weapons on police, bystanders and even television helicopters.
The incident bagan at about 0900 PST when police were called to the scene of the North Hollywood branch of the "American Bank" on Laurel Canyon Boulevard.The suspects had carved up Kevlar bullet-proof vests into armor for nearly their entire bodies. When police officers arrived on the scene, at the bank, they saw the robbers leaving the building pushing a cart full of cash in bags. The robbers than turned their guns on the people in the bank. One customer was wounded. The shootout with the robbers and police erupted and the suspects split up.A witness to the beginning of the shootout said, "The guy who was robbing it paniced. He shot back into the bank and then back out." One 28-year-old female bank customer was shot in the foot. Another bystander described, "You could feel the bullets in the air. You could hear hissssss-hisssssss-hissssss. And you could hear the pop-pop-pop." Other eyewitness caught in the shootout said,
"They had black masks over their faces and full black gear, with belts and ammo around their waists. These guys were ready for war."Robbers were killed and at least 17 people were wounded and injured in what may become one of the fierciest shootouts in U.S. history. The entire gunbattle was televised from start-to-finish on Los Angeles television.
-Bring order to chaos.
-Save downed officers.