It was over wasn't it?
'Over' was a relative term; 'over' certainly was not a definite to the hundreds of LAPD and LAFD officers that flooded the streets of North Hollywood. 'Over' would not be declared for another thirteen and a half hours, and officially 'over' would not come for another three and a half years. Unofficially, for some, 'over' never came; but for the moment we shall focus on first, the hours, and later the days and weeks that followed this monumental event.
As the clock ticked passed 10:01am Larry Eugene Phillips Jr. laid dead by his own hand a mere twenty six feet from the intersection of Archwood & Agnes. Emil Matasareanu laid handcuffed, bleeding and belligerent a third of a mile away from his companion.
Chaos ruled. It cannot be fairly stated in any other way. What we know now is that the two main protagonists were down and controlled, yet in that moment only one person knew the truth as to how many of them there may have been, and he wasn't inclined toward being cooperative.
For every badge on the street trying to control what they could they were all faced with the uncertainty that at any moment another one of these guys could round a corner, appear from a back yard and it was game on all over again. The main reason for this uncertainty, as far as we can ascertain came from a radio transmission broadcast four minutes into the robbery, and only fifty seconds after Phillips had exited the bank and stood surveying his surroundings before returning to Matasareanu inside.
It would appear that around 9:20am, a 911 call had been placed to the LAPD reporting that across Laurel Canyon Boulevard from the bank and outside the Thrifty store that there had been some form of disturbance involving six black males. During the ensuing forty five minutes of bedlam the original context of that message had become distorted and much like the 'two men in black/two black males' misunderstanding during the Van Nuys robbery the previous May some officers believed that they may now have another four suspects outstanding.
Much later the LAPD would adjudge the 'six black males' 911 call to have been a hoax.
Whilst panicked calls from the public did absolutely nothing to alleviate the situation at street level, the PSR's in Parker Centre performed an outstanding job under quite a unique type of pressure. Yet all of those calls had to be triaged and filtered down to uniforms on the street.
Several of these calls certainly require closer scrutiny within our study of the timeline. Let us dig into what we know:
10:01am - LAFD ambulance 875 (RA 875) is despatched to the 'Matasareanu scene', crewed by medical technicians Allen R. Skier and Jesse Ortiz.
10:04am - LAFD Ambulance 89 (RA89) is also despatched to the 'Matasareanu scene'
10:08am - 10:10am Both ambulances are told to discontinue their run to Archwood & Morella. Fire officials had decided that the destination was 'too hot' because of reports of suspects still in the area. This information was related later to the public by the LAFD Incident commander that day, R.C Wilmot.
Herein lies the very genesis of what would divide the city for the next three years.
Where exactly were the reports of the outstanding gunmen coming from?
If we pause the timeline here for a moment and return to other sources.
Let us examine the LAPD transmission logs for other potential suspects; from 09:21am to 10:08am we have a potential four other suspects reported.
1: 09:21hrs:White male with a white mask and running from the location (location and direction of travel not specified)[Suspect #1]
2 & 3: 09:36hrs: Two male Hispanics leaving the area in a Mitsubishi vehicle (location and direction of travel not specified) [Suspects #2 & #3]
4: 10:06am: Ben Ave/Victory Blvd, White male, with ski-mask, long hair and blue jeans seen hiding in bushes. This person would be seen three minutes later entering a Toyota Celica with another white male and leaving the area along Victory Boulevard, the very place where police were massed.
IF, and it is a HUGE 'if', this was an additional pair of suspects they were either completely brazen to use that route or as logic might dictate that this person and his passenger had absolutely zero to do with this incident. Fifty plus minutes after the event commenced, constant access to a vehicle and a suspect is still holding ground a half mile from the Matasareanu arrest scene? It would seem unlikely. Yet of all the calls be processed by the 911 operators this call stands out as having the most information, description, type of vehicle, direction of travel. [Suspect #4]
So to ask the question again, what was it that LAFD command knew, and where exactly did they get their information about the scene being 'too hot' for Skier and Ortiz to enter? Nothing is evident on the LAPD call logs; in fact the only possible viable suspect was heading AWAY from the Matasareanu scene!
So if the cause for the RA875's recall was not any of the potential suspects listed above we must return to a transmission made at 09:21hrs. In fact it is the combination of two calls made by PSR's from the Parker Center that unfortunately ran together along with some static and undecipherable cross talk which may have created the confusion.
At 09:21hrs, some four minutes and six seconds into the tape the following can be heard:
'15-L-40 advises there are two ...correction, witnesses at the location advise there is two to three suspects inside the bank wearing ski masks and AK47's' 'L-40 be advised the PR (person reporting)...' Garbled '...six male blacks enter the location'
The opening section is the PSR recanting over open air information she has just received from Sgt Dean Haynes (15L40), information given to him by Barry Golding and Mike Horen, the two unfortunate fellows who would end up trapped behind Haynes black and white as it came under a hail of gunfire.
At one point the transmission becomes garbled due to cross talk, and the final sentence of the entry is potentially taken out of context; '...six male blacks enter the location'. This broken end of a sentence actually related to a different call, a disturbance call across Laurel Canyon Blvd from the bank at a Thifty store. Arguably the worst possible timing to run into cross talk on the comms channel, and it is absolutely vital to what came later to ask the question 'Did the LAPD believe they were dealing with six suspects because of this exact entry?'
It is the only thing I can find in any official releases through the LAPD or FBI that might explain why the LAFD issued a recall order to RA875 at 10:08am.
Returning to the Matasareanu scene: The danger believed to be in the vicinity was not readily apparent, neither was an appropriate reaction to said danger from the Officers and Detectives at the scene, nor from local residents who were starting to emerge from their homes to see what was happening. The scene, from the available video, appeared relaxed. Police had their weapons holstered, did not appear anxious in their movements nor did they barricade themselves behind any cover or concealment. Detectives were busy processing the scene, certainly not the actions of law enforcement that might have an armed and hostile suspect in their vicinity.
An extremely important question to ask at this juncture is 'Could the LAPD command staff have been aware of possible additional suspects and that information had not yet filtered down to the Matasareanu scene?'
It sure seems likely right? Yet even though we now know that there were issues with police communications equipment it is still difficult to believe that there was no Officer at this scene that was capable of receiving a warning of potential additional suspects from the command post.
Skier and Ortiz in RA875 ignored the recall order as they were now only metres away from the scene cordon and being waved in by a police officer. The officer, who remains unidentified, was described by the crew as 'panicked', they pulled their 'bus' to be parked nose in to the north curb outside Dora Lubjensky's house, with their rear doors facing the south curb.
A mere 103ft from where Matasareanu lay.
Allen Skier, some 50ft away from where Matasareanu lay, glanced at the handcuffed gunman and later wrote in his report that he appeared 'lifeless'.
Both Skier and Ortiz said they had both attempted to approach Matasareanu and were steered away from that area and pointed toward the wounded Bill Marr who was still in Dora Lubjensky's front yard mopping blood from his face with his cap. RA875 had now been on scene for two of the twenty two minutes it would spend there.
Skier and Ortiz's report (lifted from an internal LAFD memorandum) seems concise and logical when read in isolation; until you look around at other occupants of the scene and what was going on with them.
10:08 - 10:25am - For seventeen minutes, whilst Skier and Ortiz claimed they saw no sign of life from the handcuffed gunman, yet Matasareanu was having quite the interaction with Detectives Jorge Armenta and James Vojtecky.
Matasareanu was writhing on the ground, when Armenta told him to lay still Matasareanu spat back 'Fuck you!'
Armenta's statement says that he "feared Matasareanu was attempting to assume a standing position", so Armenta 'prodded' him with his foot to stop him moving.
A short while later Matasareanu began moving again, and Armenta again 'prodded' him to be still.
Detective James Vojtecky squatted by the side of Matasareanu's handcuffed and prostrate form.
'Hey listen pal, it's all over with. How many people are there? Besides you?'
'Just shoot me in the head' was Matasareanu's response.
Vojtecky continued to question Matasareanu for several minutes, at one point even helping him shift to a more comfortable position. Matasareanu's only concession to being made more comfortable was to give Vojtecky a false name, 'Pete'.
When Vojtecky had gathered all the information he was able to from Matasareanu (which appears to be the sum total of absolutely nothing useable) he stood and ordered Officer John Futrell to stand guard over the suspect.
Futrell, in a sworn deposition taken in April 1998, said it was completely obvious to him that Matasareanu was alive for the whole twenty-two minutes that Skier and Ortiz were on scene.
10:13am - Five minutes after arrival at the Matasareanu scene, and whilst now dealing with Bill Marr, Ortiz calls his dispatcher with the following message 'We're handling the incident on Archwood & Morella. We have one suspect down, DB (dead body). We have one civilian with a minor gunshot wound. We'll handle. We have enough PD coverage here'.
The entry that covers Armenta and Vojtecky's interactions with Matasareanu over the seventeen minutes between 10:08 to 10:25am, yet Ortiz makes his call only five minutes into that seventeen minutes timeframe. With no frame of reference as to exactly what time Vojtecky's interrogation of Matasareanu commenced and concluded is it therefore possible that Matasareanu was immobile between 10:08 and 10:13am and when the RA crew looked at him they believed him deceased?
Quite why they did not take a few seconds to confirm this would be a cause for concern though.
10:16am: - 'Suspect' at Laurel & Magnolia, blue cap, maroon windbreaker, shorts and a backpack seen attempting to force entry into an apartment building. [Suspect #6]
10:25 - 10:30am - At least three eyewitnesses both in the moment and at later times raised enquiry as to why nobody was helping the downed Matasareanu.
Jose Hernandez, the gentleman who drove into to Lubjensky's yard behind the fleeing Bill Marr later said 'They could have at least treated him'. Post scene interview though, no known interaction at the time.
Noubar Torossian, whose house was directly opposite Lubjensky's and who filmed the scene on his own video camera until it was taken over by an LAPD Sgt (the tape of which has never been publically seen I might add) also post scene said 'Why they didn't help I don't know'.
The only record of known interaction at the time came from 69 year old Dora Lubjensky herself, who was so concerned she complained to the medics 'He's hurt, why don't you get him some help?'
According to her, her request was ignored.
According to LAPD investigation documents at least two police officers approached the medics and asked them to request another ambulance for Matasareanu. Neither Skier nor Ortiz' statements reflect these requests ever having taken place.
It would seem LAPD fingers were pointing well and truly in the medic's direction regarding culpability for Matasareanu not receiving timely care.
Officer Conrado Torrez had moved 1700 meters from his shooting position outside the bank opposite the Astro cab and trailer Phillips had hidden under to the Matasareanu scene.
Skier was treating the graze wound to the side of his neck caused by one of Phillips rounds. Skier happened to look to his left and saw what he thought was Matasareanu take a breath. Skier allegedly attempted to approach Matasareanu, now believing him to be very much alive, only to be rounded on by Detective Vojtecky, the ranking officer at the scene.
'Get the fuck out of here! There are suspects in the area!'
Let us pause again, to examine what just happened, as this moment would later be critical in the court trial to come.
'There are suspects in the area!'
Oh? How did Vojtecky know? Is there a radio transmission to back this? Later in the Matasareanu -vs- Gates et al trial it would be told that an unnamed and to this day unidentified LAPD Sgt had ran into the scene and said 'there's more out there, we think they are coming for this guy'.
If one were looking to implicate Vojtecky and to a lesser degree Futrell in an act of retribution towards Matasareanu then this phantom Sgt and his urgent information that never seems to have gone across any airwaves would be the ideal scapegoat for what came next. Yet reasonable doubt must prevail; remember that, for it will be important later.
Let us return to the call logs and see if anything additional had cropped up between 10:06am and 10:30am.
Using 10:30am as the cut off time, as that is when Skier and Ortiz left the scene, we can see that there were only two additional suspects reported in this timeframe. Suspect #4 a half mile away from the Matasareanu scene and heading AWAY from it, and Suspect #5 who was two and quarter miles to the south and sporting an extremely vague description with no mention of a firearm, body armour, or ski mask.
So we have a conundrum here don't we? Or a multi part one!
Firstly, where were the LAFD getting their information that the scene was still hot?
Secondly, those suspects rung in through the 911 system do not appear in substantive volume, location or movement direction to have encroached on the Matasareanu scene before RA875 decided to leave the wounded gunman on the ground and take off, to which Vojtecky and the unidentified LAPD Sgt appear to have been the catalysts.
Silly season on the phones would kick into high gear between 10:33am and 13:28hrs, it appeared that anything that moved got reported to 911 as a potential suspect, the neighbourhood was spooked, and justifiably so.
At 10:36am a viable suspect was reported close to the scene but this is SIX minutes after RA875 has left the scene, so for the purpose of examination we have to discount this sighting for the moment. In the minutes between 10:06am and 10:30am NO viable suspect is reported either via 911 or over the CH15 audio. If there was a comms blackspot at the Matasareanu scene, unlikely but let's play devil's advocate here, then why is an LAPD call advising ALL Officers, not just those at the Matasareanu scene, of an additional suspect not heard?
Because dear reader it doesn't appear to have happened, and IF it never happened where did the unnamed and to this day unidentified LAPD Sgt who burst into the Matasareanu scene to warn officers get his information from? It is a little hard to believe that such pertinent information would not even been attempted to be broadcast over the air and runners used instead. It's all starting to look a bit tenuous isn't it?
10:30am - Skier and Ortiz who with this new information that there were additional suspects believed somewhere close to the scene and now in fear for their lives in what was being presented to them as an uncontrolled scene, packed up Bill Marr and left the scene.
Question: When Skier and Ortiz first entered the scene at 10:08am they did so against a verbal command to return to their staging area. That command was given because LAFD believed the scene to still be hot, yet the two medics still chose to enter knowing the potential danger. Why all of a sudden when Vojtecky passes them the same information some twenty two minutes later are they now in fear for their lives? What changed? Surely the state of mind at both 10:08 and 10:30 are the same no? Or was it the case that it was 'possible' that suspects were close at 10:08 but at 10:30 with the brusque command from Vojtecky they believed it no longer a possibility but a certainty.
Bill Marr, the driver of the Jeep Gladiator that Matasareanu had tried to hijack had been wounded in the face, arm and chest by flying glass and bullet fragments.
Internal LAFD documents filed in March of 1997 have Skier stating that Marr was in critical condition, and Ortiz stating that Matasareanu was close to death with little chance of being saved.
This statement itself seems to be a direct contradiction to Skier's own. The question here is obvious; How would Ortiz know? At no point had he gotten close enough to examine Matasareanu.
Yet the radio transmission that came from RA875 as they left the scene between Hinds Ave and Morella Ave directly contradicts their later statements.
Ortiz keyed the mic and sent the following 'we have one wounded civilian with minor gunshot wounds, he's alert, orientated and in stable condition'.
A vast difference from the critical condition that Skier would say Marr had been in when giving his later report.
Another critical puzzle piece came from Ortiz' statement saying that he had called for an additional ambulance for Matasareanu as they had left the scene. That call does not appear to be present in the LAFD logs, a piece of information backed up by RC Wilmot who said that dispatchers had never received the call and as far as everyone at LAFD command were aware, Skier's call from 10:08am still stood as the most current information, that Matasareanu was deceased.
10:36am - Evon Haddad made a 911 call from her residence at Hamlin Street & Radford Avenue. She stated that she had been woken from a mid-morning nap approximately thirty minutes earlier by the sound of gunfire. She alleged to have just heard another discharge and on looking out of her window had seen a figure dressed in black boots, blue pants, black body armour and mask heading south through the intersection of Radford/Hamlin. Police were to take this call very seriously.
10:38am: - Cell phone call received from inside the BoA at 6600 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, informing operator of the location of customers and staff.
10:40am: - Unknown if this is Call #2 from Haddad or a continuation of the initial call. She now reported that this suspect was near a blue Pinto on Hamlin Street. [Suspect #7]
10:40am: - 'Suspect' seen hiding by trash can in parking lot of apartment building. No location given. [Suspect #15, not reported until 11:09am]
10:42am: - Haddad Call #3 or continuation of previous call(s) unknown. The suspect is now displaying a 'long barrelled weapon'. Vehicles are allegedly backing up out of the way of this person. Suspect disappears over a wall into a resident's rear yard. [Suspect #7]
10:47am: - Two possible suspects seen running northbound on Simpson Avenue; one in tan pants the other in blue jeans. [Suspects #8 & #9]
10:52am - Back on Archwood Street Officer Futrell continued to stand guard over Matasareanu, believing that an ambulance was en-route to his location. Twenty-two further minutes had passed since Skier and Ortiz had left the scene, Matasareanu had been on the asphalt now for nearly an hour, with a severely broken left leg and twenty-nine wounds to his body (NOT, as if often touted, 29 bullet wounds, but that particular' fact' shall be addressed elsewhere on the site though).
Futrell at this moment became somewhat concerned with Matasareanu's condition. He keyed his own ROVR and requested a RA to his location. It is written in certain places that Futrell neglected to inform the dispatcher that the need for the RA was one of urgency. Futrell by his own admission said he was 'concerned' for Matasareanu. Yet that concern appears to have been lost in the airwaves.
'Make sure when there's an ambulance available have him respond to my location' was his call.
Several seconds passed and Futrell repeated his request.
When asked whether it was for an officer or citizen, Futrell replied 'It's a suspect' and for the third time repeated 'when there's one available'.
Matasareanu's condition, rapidly worsening appears to have only been noticed by Futrell, whose broadcast did not in any way inform the PSR's of the situation.
10:48am: - 'Suspect' seen on roof of an apartment building at Chandler & Colfax armed with a rifle.
Only description is that he was wearing a blue shirt. No known resolution. [Suspect #10]
10:55am - Officers arrive at the location indicated by Haddad which may contain a third suspect. [Suspect #7]
Before we move back to Hamlin Avenue and take a look at the scene where the LAPD believed they had a cornered suspect let us first cast our gaze forward and back along the timeline to take in the scope of what the LAPD were contending with.
Although not included on this page (as it would make the already fragmented writing a lot more confusing) but from the time of the initial silent alarm and Loren Farrell's infamous 2-11 call at 09:17am up until 13:30 there was an additional seventeen 'suspects'dialled in to 911 (the 'six black males' outside the Thrifty's store on Laurel call has been excluded from this count). Only four of those were reported whilst the engagement was live, thirteen would come after both gunmen were subdued. The numbers show that this was a neighbourhood in panic, that when the gunshots subsided and people dared to see what the chaos was outside their front doors that any little thing was a potential bank robber. Working on your car? Bank robber! Running to get away from the chaos? Bank robber! It was an instinctual and reflexive action from a community that had just suffered an unimaginably violent assault. An interesting thing to note is the geographical locations of these reported 'suspects'.
The map below shows all 'suspects' that were described by location. Of the seventeen that appear on the LAPD call logs only nine can be identified by location. A question raises its head to me here: How do you send a patrol unit to a location you don't know?
Although massive police personnel resources continued to flood into the area almost unchecked a measure of control needed to be implemented, so far Officers had been acting for the most part, autonomously. Somebody would need to triage the incoming reports and assign units. Initially this fell to North Hollywood Watch Commander Lt. Nicolas Zingo, eventually it would be taken up by Scott LaChasse.
Five command posts would be utilised that day, ranging from the trunk of a dusty black and white, an iHOP parking lot through to a car wash. Before the command vehicles made it to the scene, a furniture store on Victory Boulevard, Heilig-Meyers, would throw open their doors and welcome the LAPD to make use of their desks, telephones and televisions. It was a selfless act, one of many, performed by local businesses that day.
Of all the calls that came in via 911 reporting additional 'suspects' only two mentioned firearms, it should be assumed that these two sightings were given the highest priority. The first at 10:36am was Haddad's sighting, and it was this one that LAPD invested a huge amount of time and resources in.
Inside 6464 Hamlin Street seventy-seven year old retired Lockheed engineer Walter Milosevic was using the telephone to try contact his bed ridden wife's doctor when he noticed a movement outside the kitchen window. Looking outside he saw an LAPD officer with his sidearm drawn.
He exited the house and asked if he could help. Three officers turned him around and followed him back inside the house where Walter recalled them telling him they had a report of a suspect from the bank robbery hiding in his back yard, specifically in an aluminium shed.
'You're going to have to leave; we are going to get him out'.
Walter attended to his wife placing her in her wheelchair with a blanket to keep the keen February breeze off her and they both left the house to the police. With nowhere to go they would end up wandering the perimeter for hours upon end before eventually their son found them at around 7pm.
10:58am: - Robbery/Homicide detectives on site at Union Bank, Laurel & Victory.
11:01am: - 'Suspect' seen at Oxnard & Cahuenga in a full faced ski mask using a cell phone whilst occupying a phone booth. [Suspect #11]
11:02am: - White male 'Suspect', heavyset, wearing a camouflage jacket and turquoise T-shirt seen working under the hood of an older model Toyota on Sylvan & Carpenter. [Suspect #12]
11:04am: - 'Suspect' seen running southbound towards Victory Boulevard, No location given, description of white t-shirt, blue jeans and white mask. [Suspect #13]
11:05am - LAFD ambulance 60 (RA60) was dispatched, nonemergency to Archwood/Morella 'to do paperwork on a DB'.
As it appears the LAFD were STILL operating under the assumption that Skier's 10:08am call still stood and that Matasareanu had been deceased since that time, Futrell's calls in no way intimate that Matasareanu was alive. A critical miscommunication appears to had occurred; LAFD must have believed that Futrell was calling for the ambulance to collect Matasareanu's body.
11:07am - 'Suspect' reported running along Klump Avenue. No description or direction of travel given. [Suspect #14]
11:08am - 'Suspect' from 11:02am from Sylvan & Carpenter now on Laurel & Irwin is seen to remove jacket and is now carrying a police scanner.[Suspect #12]
11:10am - RA60 arrives on scene and it is discovered that Matasareanu has succumbed to his wounds.
Another question I feel should have been answered: Matasareanu was last reported conscious eighteen minutes earlier at 10:52am, what assessments were made on him during the intervening period? At very most Matasareanu was alive for those eighteen minutes, but in all probability a little less. What observation(s) was made of his condition from 10:52hrs to 11:10hrs?
11:11am: - 'Suspect', white male, 5'10, white shirt & tan pants. No location given and no direction of travel. [Suspect #16]
11:17am: - 'Suspect' from Sylvan & Carpenter stopped by police, no further report. [Suspect #12]
12:35pm: - An LAPD helicopter hovered low over the Milosevic property, which had been contained but not searched for nearly two hours by now, a voice called out from the bullhorn.
'The other suspects have surrendered; we are calling on you to give yourself up'.
Outside the home two dark blue Cadillac Gage 'Commando' (civilian nomenclature:V-100) armoured cars, one equipped with a large battering ram sat nose in to the curb, pointing at the wall to the Milosevic yard. In between the time of the officer's first arrival, contact with Haddad, 'evicting' Walter and Mary Milosevic and the SWAT teams making their way to the location a LAPD dog had been put to work. A blood trail was found on the curb outside the Milosevic residence and leading to the alley that ran between the Milosevic house and the apartment block. The dog, ran by handler Officer Nagatoshi, apparently alerted on a 'strong fear scent'.
Back on Laurel Canyon Boulevard the SWAT trio of Anderson, Gomez and Massa who had left the Matasareanu scene teamed up with other members and had begun to effect entry to the bank. It appears they had traversed the North Lot first, stopping to identify and clear the long abandoned money bag and had then skirted the western wall of the bank arriving at the northwest ATM lobby which Phillips had used to initiate his assault on the police.
It would appear that several people were removed from the bank before entry was made, amongst them the remaining security guard from American Protective Services and a BoA employee. The remainder of those inside the bank would be held there for approximately another hour.
12:37pm: - The driver of the red Ford Tempo whom Matasareanu had taken a shot at just east of the intersection of Archwood & Lemp called in to report his encounter. No injury recorded.
12:41pm - Multiple tear gas charges were fired into the Milosevic rear yard around the aluminium shed. Still nothing stirred.
13:00 (approx): - V100 #3, which had manoeuvred further down the road accelerated toward the Milosevic residence, turning right and using it's ram to topple the wall it continued several feet across the yard, its impetus restricted by the belongings stacked high and wide across the yard. Over the next thirty minutes repeated incursions into the yard by the V100 were attempted, the aim was to pull the side from the aluminium shed hopefully exposing the third gunman who would be subdued by the SWAT teams that were stacked behind the second V100 waiting patiently in the street. A half hour of tense inaction ensued, interspersed with the twenty ton vehicle trying to pick its way across the littered yard and carefully remove the shed wall.
Nothing bolted, nothing ran, nothing stirred but the wind. Most importantly, nobody was in the shed.
13:00: - Los Angeles County Coroner's office informed of two decedents in North Hollywood.
Coroner's investigator R.Beans assigned to the scene.
13:28: - 'Suspect' of Middle Eastern or Hispanic origin reported at Chandler &Woodman, heading toward Ventura. [Suspect #17]
13:30 (approx): - After initial debrief the first twenty or so customers and staff from the bank were removed from the premises and placed in a LAPD bus which had been bought up from Elysian Park and taken to the Union Bank on Victory Boulevard to be interviewed.
13:55: - Gunshot residue samples taken from Phillips hands by coroner's investigator R.Beans.
14:00: - Fifteen additional detectives requested from any Division that could spare them to attend the Union Bank at Victory Boulevard to assist with BoA customer interviews.
14:00: - Approximately 2pm LAPD chief Willie Williams stepped in front of the press for the first time, to be bombarded with questions from all angles.
Certain quotes from this interview stand out, 'It is a mobile and fluid scene which we do not consider absolutely secure at this particular time'.
'We are making an assumption [that the possibility of one or even two unaccounted for gunmen were still loose]
Yet also around the time this press conference was being given the 170 freeway was being re-opened by the California Highway Patrol, with only limited on/off ramps being in service.
Someone somewhere felt comfortable enough that there was no gunmen close enough to either use the freeway or cause damage to those using it. It would already appear that the belief was starting to solidify that either only Phillips and Matasareanu were responsible for the morning's actions or IF there had been a third party that they had fled the area by now.
14:08: - All officers on the cordon advised that Metro Bomb Squad were now clearing the bandit Chevrolet Celebrity. No explosives were found but a glass mayonnaise jar full of gasoline with a rudimentary fuse made from matches taped to the lid was discovered behind the Chevrolet's bench seat. Although SWAT officer Rick Massa had already cleared Bill Marr's truck (moments after Matasareanu's arrest) it is at this point I think it prudent to take a look at what both vehicles contained.
The last picture in the above image carousel shows the remaining ammunition Phillips and Matasareanu had left within their vehicle. It is often stated that they took over three thousand rounds of ammunition to the bank that day, expending over 1100 of them in the firefight. We do not believe that first number to be anywhere close to accurate, as shall be later detailed on the 'Myths' page; this will be one of the photographs that will become centrepiece to that particular discussion.
14:13: - Cordon perimeter revised, boundaries would now be Lankershim Boulevard on the eastern edge, Victory Boulevard on the south, the 170 Freeway on the west and Sherman Way to the north.
As the afternoon continued the search for the potential missing gunman ground on. Crime scenes were slowly and meticulously processed whilst officers carefully and methodically cleared street after street.
News crews were understandably everywhere, trying to snag interviews with anyone who had been involved. Gene Blevins and Mike Meadows at the bank who had captured some of the now widely recognized photos continued documenting police movements from their position in the Valley Plaza lot opposite the bank, capturing multiple shots of the SWAT team entering the bank, the customers being released and much more.
Further along Archwood an L.A Times photographer, Carolyn Cole, got as close as possible to the Matasareanu scene. With her telephoto lens she was able to gather a picture of the arrested gunman whilst he was still alive; over the years, the following photograph has become iconic to the event.
Local businesses got involved too, supplying food and drinks to officers. The Del Taco restaurant that had been Officer Richard Zielinski's shooting point sent out box upon box of food; in the midst of the aftermath of chaos and terror human kindness shone through.
The Sears store at Laurel & Victory, who at the start of the shooting had locked over one hundred customers inside for their own safety, unlocked their doors. An electric atmosphere of shock and adrenaline blanketed North Hollywood; most people understood they had been around something monumental.
17:00: - As the sun made way for the early evening sky the LAPD released the names of the injured officers to the press, curiously three names were missed off:
Sgt. Larry D. Haynes, 41, gunshot wounds to the shoulder and leg.
Officer James Zboravan, 26, gunshot to the buttock.
Officer David Grimes, 29, injured in a traffic accident.
Det. Earl Valladares, 51, superficial head wound.
Officer William Lantz, 28, cuts and bruises.
Det. William Krulac, 49, gunshot wound in the right ankle.
Det. Tracey Angeles, 29, bullet grazes in the stomach and buttock.
Officer John Goodman, 28, abrasions.
Later the names and injuries of the following would be added: Conrado Torrez, grazing gunshot wound to the side of his neck Stuart Guy, gunshot wounds to the leg and arm. Martin Whitfield, gunshot wound to the thigh, shrapnel wounds to the chest.
20:15: - Often overlooked in the aftermath is that fact that within the cordon was ten schools. All had gone into lockdown when the shooting began, and throughout the day whilst access was restricted parents found themselves facing an uphill battle to collect their children. By 8:30pm only three children out of the ten schools remained, kept busy with a VHS of The Lion King until their parents could get through the cordon to collect them.
22:40: - Los Angeles County Coroner arrived in North Hollywood, processed both the Phillips and Matasareanu scenes, including fingerprints of both men. Whilst instrumental in positive identification eleven miles away across the city certain members of Glendale Police Department were absolutely sure they already knew who the two men were.
Coroner would spend a little over four hours processing the scenes leaving at 3am and taking Phillips and Matasareanu's bodies back to North Mission Rd under a SWAT escort.
23:30: - Late into the night and the LAPD finally called off the search, officers were stood down and the streets opened again. Normality however would be a little slower in returning.