It was 9:24am. The gunmen had been inside the bank for seven minutes and twenty two seconds. Many of the officers outside the bank expected that the gunmen would see that they were surrounded and hunker down and the now completed robbery would turn into a SWAT standoff. Nobody expected what was to come next. Phillips barged through the northeast door and into the ATM lobby, immediately stepping forward and pivoting to his right he swung the Norinco up to shoulder level, noticing for the first time the additional cruiser of Martin Whitfield now parked in the Laurel/Archwood intersection behind Haynes. He depressed the trigger. There had been no hesitation, no stop and look, see how the land lies, it was an instant and pre-planned action. Haynes was situated by the driver's side of his black and white, attempting to deal with the three civilian witnesses, Fisher, Golding and Horen. It appears that only Haynes and Golding had a direct line of sight to the figure who was now 206ft away and swinging his rifle up to point at them.
Haynes yelled a brief warning and grabbing Tracy Fisher pushed her toward the asphalt.
The first half dozen rounds fired may have been semi auto, conflicting reports endure. Fisher remembers "The cop car just exploded."
The first rounds covered the 206ft between gunman and target in a little over 1/100th of a second, less time than it takes to blink, and ripped into the stationary cruisers. These were not rounds like those fired in the bank which had been fired with a design to scare and intimidate. The game had changed. These rounds were fired with deadly intent.
The eight gram copper jacketed bullets impacted Haynes cruiser with tremendous force, glass shattered and cascaded mixing with the hollow 'thunk' as rounds perforated the metal bodywork. Haynes went to ground behind the engine block, the only thing capable of stopping what was coming his way.
Phillips noticed movement behind the second police car and swung his rifle barrel to the left.
Martin Whitfield, a Van Nuys officer with six years on the job, had felt reasonably confident in the previous seconds. He had the full length of his police car between himself and the armed bandits he knew would be exiting the bank.
Phillips emptied the remainder of his Romanian 75 round drum magazine in Whitfield's direction. The rounds struck the windshield, some fragmenting and forming a shotgun blast like barrage of shrapnel that ripped through the car, the back window and struck Whitfield in the upper body.
"You've been shot I thought, 'Don't panic! Then I was shot again." - Martin Whitfield.
The muzzle report of the Norinco boomed and rolled up and down Laurel Canyon, the echoes bouncing back off the buildings. It made accurate pinpointing of the gunmen to some officers who were deploying out of view of the confrontation difficult; all they knew was that the world had gone from zero to madness in a heartbeat that sunny Friday morning.
Behind the black and white Lantz's FTO called for them to relocate, they looked behind them and saw the Del Taco parking lot strewn with vehicle and a delivery truck. As they hurriedly moved across Archwood St Phillips opened up on them, a relatively slim firing angle for him and one that would have meant him having to expose himself to incoming gunfire to some considerable degree.
Schram made it to the end of parked vehicle and turned to face Phillips; Lantz still crossing the street with his back completely towards Phillips would not have seen the masked gunman aiming at him.
As he crossed from the asphalt to the sidewalk he took a bullet to the inside of the left knee.
Still carrying his Ithaca 37 shotgun he crossed the rear of his partner and took cover behind the engine block of the vehicle whilst Schram continued to engage Phillips.
"Everybody stay down! Rapid automatic fire, they're combing the area with fire. Fully automatic weapons".
As soon as the "Officer needs assistance" call had hit the airwaves nearly eight minutes previously the North Hollywood police station had all but emptied. A little over a mile away the station on Tiara Street that had once been used to film scenes of ADAM-12 saw a stream of black and whites flood out of the rear gates and charge north.
Those officers were now taking up positions mainly to the south around the bank, several would move eastward and then north in an attempt to flank the gunmen as the engagement progressed. Van Nuys division had officers close by, they too joined the fray.
Arriving in the airspace above the bank approximately a minute before Phillips exited the northwest door of the BoA came AIR8 the Eurocopter A-Star 350 of the Los Angeles Air Support Division. Crewed by Charles "Chuck" Perriguey Jr and a reserve pilot training officer.
Perriguey, a Vietnam veteran decorated with the Silver Star and Purple Heart, bought the unarmed and unarmored helicopter in low, trying to get a closer look into he bank's northwest ATM alcove. Phillips fired at them, missing completely but making them lift out and survey the scene from a safer altitude.
As Phillips edged in and out of view within the alcove whilst continuing to spray rounds at the officers and civilians pinned down to the north an officer to the south of his position saw an opportunity.
James Zboravan slid around the side of the the keyshack sited in the Hughes Market parking lot.
"As soon as I pumped the shotgun, I broke out in a cold sweat." - Officer James Zboravan
We must remember at this point that Zboravan was about as raw as you can find a police officer having only graduated the Academy a mere six weeks earlier. What he was about to attempt was a shot to nothing, but if it worked he could stop this event from escalating.
As he slid around the keyshack, racking the Ithaca Model 37 shotgun in the process, Phillips had stepped forward and was turned slightly to his right, facing north (Believed at this point he was still attempting to target Schram & Lantz).
Zboravan rested the brass bead sight in the centre of Phillips back, pulled the trigger, quickly racked the slide and fired again. Eighteen 00 buck pellets, each the size of a .32 cal pistol bullet, streaked across Laurel Canyon boulevard. At 211ft it was an extremely long shot to make. Phillips either stepped forward slightly, Zboravan's aim was slightly off or due to the extreme range the shot pattern deviated on it's course.
The result was eight of the pellets struck Phillips in the back, running in a pattern from the lower left back up to the middle of the spine. One slipped low, finding a chink in Phillips armour, it penetrated through the right rear pocket of his jeans punching deep into the buttock muscle.
Phillips stumbled, Zboravan knew his shots had hit their mark and hoped the masked raider would fall. Phillips corrected his stance and turned to face his would be assassin.
Seeing that his target was far from incapacitated and was now fixated on him Officer Zboravan started to retreat behind the keyshack. It was at that moment Detective Krulac uttered the words 'You know this makes lousy cover' to the officers there with him.
Phillips opened up on the kiosk and the officers hidden behind it, once again the booming sounds of full auto gunfire rippled and rolled up and down Laurel.
Behind the keyshack Krulac realised how prophetic his words were as rounds raced through the flimsy wooden structure, passing through the thin wooden walls with ease, tearing and tumbling, ricocheting off machinery, seeking out the soft targets hiding behind the walls.
Lore has it that Phillips put over one hundred rounds into this building, it is certainly possible. The only visible signs left today is a single deformation of a light steel beam on the inside of the glass house end of the building.
As rounds tore through the building Zboravan realised that the detectives, who were as busy as he was trying to make themselves part of the asphalt, we not wearing any ballistic vests, in a moment of selfless bravery he positioned his body over that of Detective Angeles, seconds later rounds struck him.
"Running across the street to save those officers made no sense, If you get hurt whilst responding you don't do anybody any good. If I had gone down out there I would have added to the problem immensely" - Officer Loren Farrell.
Phillips, with no obvious targets in sight, now turned his attention back to the north. Toward Haynes, Whitfield and the three civilians, Horen, Golding and Fisher.
Haynes who had taken over the communications relay from Farell's initial broadcast had for the last three minutes been giving a running commentary back to LAPD Dispatch at the Parker Centre, he was about to be reminded that Phillips had not forgotten about him.
Dean Haynes, who gave only a couple of interviews in the immediate aftermath of the shootout, has never really been available to recount his side of the story, a pity because he was one officer who was directly in the eye of the hurricane.
Given the impact marks on his vehicle and the location of the wound he suffered we believe that he was peeking head and shoulders above the engine bay of his vehicle when Phillips spotted him and fired on his position.
The rounds struck the hood with at least one of them fragmenting and burying itself in the outside of Haynes left upper arm/shoulder area.
Phillips continued to rake Haynes cruiser, and in the process wounded two of the civilians sheltering there. Tracey Fisher stood to run, desperate to get away from the rapidly disintegrating police car when a round skipped underneath and caught her in the right foot. Further thoughts of fleeing were banished so she went to ground at the rear wheel along with Golding and the now wounded Horen.
Behind the keyshack the two detectives and two officers were gathering themselves from the onslaught. Zboravan had been struck three times whilst shielding Detective Angeles and was bleeding heavily. Krulac placed his hand on the young officer's shoulder and asked him if he could run. Zboravan replied he could.
Krulac and Zboravan crouched and tried to sneak from car to car, back toward the building. Phillips spotted their movement amongst the vehicles and again targeted them. Rounds tore across Laurel and hammered into their concealment, showering both officers with fragments of asphalt and broken glass. Tyres deflated, radiators spewed coolant. Krulac pointed to a doorway, and placing his hand on the young officer's shoulder urged him toward it.
Officer Guy and Detective Angeles attempted to move north through the lot, also using the cars as cover. Guy moved ahead of Angeles, coming to rest against a white early '90s Dodge Caravan, Angeles was not so lucky.
Caught in the open, sidearm in one hand and ROVR radio in the other Phillips spotted her movement and switched fire. Angeles tripped, spilling both pistol and radio. Shots kicked up the ground around her. It seemed only a matter of time before she too was struck, but Phillips spotted Krulac and Zboravan again and switched fire, this allowed Angeles to scramble to cover near Officer Guy.
Zboravan and Krulac dodged the incoming fire and hurriedly made their way for the recessed doorway of a dentists office, Phillips continued to fire at them as they made their perilous journey across the lot. Moments before they reached the doorway rounds slammed into the glass panels, shattering them, both officers did not hesitate, they crashed straight through and into the stairwell.
The assault by Phillips was now three minutes old, between the shots he had fired in the bank and those outside in the ATM lobby he had expended approximately three hundred rounds. At 09:27:30 the last picture was taken of him operating solo in the ATM lobby, seconds later he disappeared back into the bank.
Inside the doorway to the dentist's office Detective Krulac and Officer Zboravan scrambled up the stairs. Krulac, now armed with Zboravan's Ithaca shotgun paused at the top of the stairs and trained the shotgun back toward the door. Anyone with a black ski mask coming through that door after them was going to face the remaining two shells of 00 buck.
Zboravan collapsed at the top of the stairs calling for a doctor. Aid would come in the form of Dr's Jorge Montes and his wife Teresa Romero.
Their dentistry business had been at this location for many years, during that time they had known the Bank of America across the street to have been robbed five times. Nothing could have prepared them for what had transpired this day though. When 7.62x39mm bullets began impacting their building they and their assistants had sought cover in a room at the rear of the building.
Zboravan's cries for help bought Montes to the closed door to his offices, when he opened it he found the bloodied and wounded officer writhing on the floor.
Montes set to work on the the injured Zboravan, he could see blood but not where he was bleeding from. He asked him where he was hit and Zboravan replied "Lower back".
Three bullets had struck the rookie around the area of his gunbelt. One had sliced a wound over five inches long across his lower back, the second had penetrated through his hip.
Montes went to work on the wound with hydrogen peroxide and gauze, the wound had cut so deep through the tissues that Zboravan's pleural cavity was exposed. There was a very pressing need to get this officer to a hospital, but medical aid would be many long minutes away from arriving.
Montes moved to Detective Krulac who had not escaped Phillips fire unscathed. Somewhere in the parking lot they had crossed Krulac had taken a either a ricochet or a piece of shrapnel to the right ankle. He asked Montes to remove it but fearful that the piece of metal sticking out from the detective's ankle may have penetrated bone he opted to leave it in place until a hospital could look at it.
The officers who remained from the initial cordon were acutely aware that they were seriously outmatched. 9mm pistols against what was for all intents and purposes a select fire AK47 wielded by a man with no reservation about using it to do harm. Officers continued to flood into the area, forming up in small groups wherever they deemed it safe, for the most part they were all well within range of Phillips rifle. Command and control of these officers in these early minutes was non-existent, and would remain so until Lt. Nicholas Zingo, the North Hollywood Watch Commander arrived at the scene.
Two and a half minutes after returning to the bank's interior and discarding three empty ammunition drums Phillips swung the door open again. (Note: Pouches on belt rig are now empty). He stepped out into the ATM lobby, allegedly dragging one of the handles of the Trawell duffle bag that Matasareanu had loaded with money. Matasareanu was on the other end of the bag, kicking it through the doorway. The devastation that Phillips had lain down was about to get worse - By 09:30:07 both gunmen were now outside.
Phillips and Matasareanu would remain active in the ATM lobby for a little under two minutes, but it was enough time for them to take another two LAPD officers out of the fight. Both men would exchange firing positions at least once.
Stuart Guy and Tracy Angeles, separated by approximately fifteen feet again came under fire.
Zboravan upstairs in the dentist's office and ignoring all radio protocol (for understandable reasons) shouted "Officer Guy into the building behind you, Officer Guy into the building behind you!" Stuart Guy was unable to move though, he squatted with his back pressed to the rear bumper of the white Dodge Caravan (coincidently this vehicle was owned by the doctor, Jorge Montes, that was treating his partner). Nobody knows who the shooter was that hit him, although one of the ATM photographs does show Matasareanu firing in that general direction. Guy took a round to the right thigh, the bullet eviscerating a large chunk of flesh above his knee as it exited.
"My leg went up in the air like a ragdoll" - Officer Stuart Guy
"He reminded me of the scarecrow in the 'Wizard of Oz'" - Dr Jorge Montes
"His pants were smoking, like they were on fire, and there was a huge hole" - Det. Tracey Angeles
The force of the impact lifted guy off his feet, depositing him on his backside. Quick thinking saw him rip of his gunbelt and use it as a makeshift tourniquet. Detective Angeles was wounded in the buttocks with shrapnel. The inner cordon was now in complete disarray, ineffective, and unable to to either put concentrated fire on the gunmen or to hold them in place until SWAT teams arrived. The exterior engagement was now seven minutes old.
After less than two minutes of firing at anyone who dared to show a head from behind cover the duo made the decision to leave the ATM alcove. By doing this they must have believed that escape was possible; the police themselves knew it was. Given their movement from a secured building into an open environment it made what was happen in the next phase, at first glance, rather confusing.
"If they had wanted to get away at that point, they could have just drove out of that parking lot."
- Officer Edward Brentlinger
Two hundred feet away behind the two destroyed cruisers in the southbound lane of Laurel Canyon Boulevard Whitfield and Haynes made a life or death decision, a decision that could very well cost them their own lives but one that they believed would protect others.
Knowing that the gunmen were advancing on them they made the decision that they were drawing gunfire toward the civilians, if they were no longer in that position the civilians theoretically should be safer, they stood and ran. It is unknown which of the gunmen, it may possibly have been both, saw their movement but gunfire streaked after the fleeing officers.
Officer Martin Whitfield clearly remembers that he was running fast and he could hear the impact of rounds striking the asphalt behind him.
Phillips slung the money bag over his left should and tucking the Norinco into the crook of his elbow left the ATM lobby and walked northbound down the path adjacent to the sidewalk that they had entered by some thirteen minutes earlier. As he walked he continued to fire toward Haynes and Whitfield.
Matasareanu went down on one knee in the alcove, bracing his rifle against the wall and laid down suppressing fire for his companion.
In the next few seconds several elements all occurred within seconds of each other.
Media helicopters were starting to close in on the scene, and with their recording equipment at full zoom started to record the first few seconds of what would turn out to be one of the most horrific gun fights ever caught on live television.
Ground media units were arriving in force too. Amongst the first to arrive were the cameraman/reporter duo of Jorge Viera & Juan Guerra (pictured below) for Telemundo52.
Guerra and Viera entered the Hughes supermarket from the rear lot and crossed the shop floor (shown above), pushing open the electric doors that had been disabled by the staff when the gunfight started. The ventured forward into the lot, moving toward the first row of vehicles, at that point they had no idea how close they were to the gunmen. Only 275 feet separated them.
Three hundred feet to the north of the news crew a entirely different story was unfolding. Both gunmen knew exactly where two officers were and once again fired multiple rounds after them.
Haynes reached the trees lining the west side of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Whitfield charged on, trying to create more distance between himself and the approaching gunmen.
He reached the tree that was to be his only cover for the next 20 minutes, and believing he had tripped over exposed tree roots or uneven paving he looked down, to see a massive wound through his thigh.
An 8 gram 7.62x39mm steel-core projectile had smashed through his upper thigh at 2400 feet per second, shattering between four and six inches of his femur, a horrific and immediately debilitating wound.
Martin Whitfield, the six year veteran of the Van Nuys station, liked by many of his colleagues, always on hand with a joke, father of three, slid down the tree, trying to position the trunk between himself and the gunmen as he collapsed.
Not satisfied with injuring the officer one or both of the gunmen continued to fire repeatedly at Whitfield, striking the tree he was desperately trying to shelter behind.
Behind Haynes cruiser Michael Horen, Tracey Fisher and Barry Golding huddled together that little bit tighter, there was no-one there to protect them now, they were all alone and believed their only chance for survival was to play possum.
"We all wanted to run for it, but I kept saying 'No! Stay here, let's not move, if they don't see movement they'll think we're dead" - Tracey Fisher
It is unclear when exactly in the chronology Sgt. Larry Haynes was struck for the second time. Some sources state it happened whilst he was running for the tree, others that it happened whilst he was trying to take cover behind the tree, either way the result was the same.
A bullet caught him a glancing blow to the left shin.
Phillips and Matasareanu's plan was now one of 'best make do'. Their plan had gone sideways on them before they had even begun to implement the robbery phase and through either sheer dumb luck or some form of intuition Phillips had become aware of this only three minutes into the proceedings. His upgrading of their work gear would be severely tested in the next few minutes.
The North Hollywood Shootout, as it would come to be known as, was now in full swing.