28 February

The North Hollywood shootout, sometimes also called the Battle of North Hollywood, was an armed confrontation between two heavily armed and armoured bank robbers and members of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in the North Hollywood district of Los Angeles on this day in 1997. Both perpetrators were killed, eleven police officers and seven civilians were injured, and numerous vehicles and other property were damaged or destroyed by the approximately 1,750 rounds of ammunition fired by the robbers and police.

At 9:17 AM, Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Mătăsăreanu entered and robbed the North Hollywood Bank of America branch. Phillips and Mătăsăreanu were confronted by LAPD officers when they exited the bank and a shootout between the officers and robbers ensued. The two robbers attempted to flee the scene, Phillips on foot and Mătăsăreanu in their getaway vehicle, while continuing to engage the officers. The shootout continued onto a residential street adjacent to the bank until Phillips was mortally wounded, including a self-inflicted gunshot wound; Mătăsăreanu was killed by officers three blocks away. Phillips and Mătăsăreanu are believed to have robbed at least two other banks using virtually identical methods by taking control of the entire bank and firing illegally-modified automatic weapons chambered with intermediate cartridges for control and entry past ‘bullet-proof’ security doors, and are possible suspects in two armoured vehicle robberies.

Standard issue side-arms carried by most local patrol officers at the time were 9 mm pistols or .38 Special revolvers; some patrol cars also were equipped with a 12-gauge shotgun. Phillips and Mătăsăreanu carried illegally-modified fully automatic Norinco Type 56 S-1s (an AK-47 variant), a Bushmaster XM15 Dissipator, and a HK-91 rifle with high capacity drum magazines which are all capable of penetrating vehicles and police Kevlar vests, as well as a Beretta 92FS pistol. The bank robbers wore heavy plate mostly home-made body armour which successfully protected them from handgun rounds and shotgun pellets fired by the responding patrol men. A police SWAT team eventually arrived bearing sufficient firepower, and they commandeered an armoured truck to evacuate the wounded. Several officers also appropriated AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles from a nearby firearms dealer. The incident sparked debate on the need for patrol officers to upgrade their firepower in preparation for similar situations in the future.

Due to the large number of injuries, rounds fired, weapons used, and overall length of the shootout, it is regarded as one of the longest and bloodiest events in American police history. The two men had fired approximately 1,100 rounds, while approximately 650 rounds were fired by police.