1997 North Hollywood shootout

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North Hollywood shootout
North Hollwywood shootout
Type 1 mass shooting
Type 2 thug scare
Year 1997
Date 02/28
Place North Hollywood, California
Perps Larry Eugene Phillips, Jr.
Decebal Ștefan Emilian Mătăsăreanu
Linked to
Norrmalmstorg robbery (1973) Cleveland High
School shooting
Fakeologist [ab 1][ab 2]
Hoax Busters Call [HB 1]
Other [MSM 1][1][2]

The North Hollywood shootout was a mass shooting thug scare psyop taking place on February 28, 1997, in North Hollywood, California, United States. Two bankrobbers, Larry Eugene Phillips, Jr. and Decebal Ștefan Emilian Mătăsăreanu robbed the Bank of America branch and ended in a mass shooting with the police on their way out. Both perps were killed and 18 policemen were injured by the 1,100 rounds fired at them. The story appears as a mission, The Paleto Score, in the videogame Grand Theft Auto (GTA) V (2013). Trevor Phillips, one of the main characters in the game bears the same last name as one of the bankrobbers.[MSM 2].[MSM 3] Also the band Megadeth made a song about the shooting, 44 Minutes (2009). The scene of the shootout has been in the movie Heat (1995).[HB 1]

Official story

• The North Hollywood shootout, sometimes also called the Battle of North Hollywood, was an armed confrontation between two heavily armed and armored bank robbers and members of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in the North Hollywood district of Los Angeles on February 28, 1997. Both perpetrators were killed, twelve police officers and eight civilians were injured, and numerous vehicles and other property were damaged or destroyed by the nearly 2,000 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 similar methods by taking control of the entire bank and firing illegally modified automatic weapons chambered for intermediate cartridges for control and entry past 'bullet-proof' security doors, and are possible suspects in two armored vehicle robberies.
• Standard issue sidearms carried by most local patrol officers at the time were 9 mm pistols or .38 Special revolvers; some patrol cars were also 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 as well as a Beretta 92FS pistol. The bank robbers wore mostly homemade, heavy plated body armor which successfully protected them from handgun rounds and shotgun pellets fired by the responding officers. A police SWAT team eventually arrived bearing sufficient firepower, and they commandeered an armored 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. An officer was heard on the LAPD police frequency approximately 10-15 minutes into the shootout, warning other officers that they should "not stop [the getaway vehicle], they've got automatic weapons, there's nothing we have that can stop them."
• 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. Both men had fired approximately 1,100 rounds, while approximately 650 rounds were fired by police. Another estimate is that a total of nearly 2,000 rounds were fired.

Wikipedia[MSM 1]


The analysis below is done by Gaia based on various sources. The audiochat has many more points covered.[ab 1]


According to the story, the Bank of America located at 6600 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, was robbed by two perps, who managed to shoot approximately 1,100 bullets at some 300 to 350 police and SWAT. The police in turn fired around 650 bullets.

Larry Eugene Philips Jr.

  • Born on September 20, 1970 in Los Angeles
  • To parents (((Daniel Ira Starfel))) and Barbara Allen[1]
  • Or to parents Larry Phillips Sr. and Dorothy Clay[2]
  • The address given from Starfel and Allen was 1332 S. Bond St. an non-existent address
  • His parents stated as home states Colorado (Starfel) and Utah (Allen)
  • The parents names were fake, with real names Larry Phillips Sr. and Dorothy Clay
  • Birth certificate with fake parent names of Larry Phillips Jr.
  • Allegedly, when Larry Phillips Jr. was some 5 years old, he and his mother moved from Los Angeles to Kiowa, Colorado[2]
  • In 1970, there were just 235 people living in that hamlet and in 1980 that number went down to 202[MSM 4]
  • What is a -single- mother with her young boy doing in this tiny hamlet in Colorado?
  • Allegedly his father, Phillips Sr. stayed in LA to work as a painter
  • Note that many military bases are located nearby, around Colorado Springs, including the US Airforce Academy and Peterson Airbase, also the Colorado Army National Guard in Denver
  • Two days after his 6th birthday, he witnessed his father being arrested by federal agents
  • So the paint job was over?
Larry Phillips Sr.
  • Larry's father, Larry Sr. had been arrested for opening a grave and removing the dead body's head, an unsubstantiated story[1]
  • He was interned in Colorado State Reformatory at Buena Vista
  • how can someone end up in jail based on an unsubstantiated story?
  • Robbed a gas station just after leaving on parole in January 1968 in Adams County, Colorado
  • Threatened to receive a 10 year sentence, he left jail after 3 months for Colorado State [mental] Hospital on June 1st, 1968
  • "The reasons for his transfer are unfortunately lost" !
  • Also his FBI file is untraceable, as are the medical records
  • After 10 months he escaped from the mental hospital, unknown how, but suggested using the system of tunnels below the hospital
  • He used the new fake name Daniel Ira Starfel, the name of an old school acquaintance, after using the fake name Charles Dawn for a while
Dorothy Clay
  • Dorothy Lopez, as her name originally allegedly was, was Larry Phillips' girlfriend and was heading for Salt Lake City, Utah, when Phillips Sr. picked her up in Denver, Colorado[1]
  • Shadowy figure, little information on her to be found, even less in the FBI file about Phillips Sr.
  • She was 9 years older than Phillips Sr.
  • She also went by various fake names
  • Allegedly from Mexican descent
  • Only occupation listed was prostitute
  • Also she has unsubstantiated stories that she ended up in jail and allegedly stabbed a fellow inmate

Before Larry Phillips Jr.'s birth, his parents went together to Salt Lake City, Utah, when they phoned their parents [why?], letting them know where they were. Their parents called the FBI [what??]. On October 27, 1969, Phillips Sr. was taken into a police car and "in a moment of panic" gave his real name [sure]. When his records [that were lost in the FBI?] came back, he jumped from the car and fled, without being found by the police. The timeline between 1969 and 1976 is very sparse.[1]

Dorothy and Larry Phillips Sr. divorced somewhere in the 1970s or 80s and Clay moved back with Larry Phillips Jr. to California. His father stayed close with him and introduced Larry Jr. to shooting and wrestling. In the mid-80s he met his later wife Sharon Santos. Phillips also became interested by infomercials about get-rich-quick schemes by Tom Vu. In September 2nd 1989, Phillips began taking the same path as his father, getting arrested and going to trial for stealing $400 worth of suits from a Sears store in Alhambra. In the same year, Sharon Santos had been impregnated with his own son. Sometime later at Gold's Gym, in the same year, Phillips met and befriended Mătăsăreanu, who had a similar interest in bodybuilding and weightlifting.

In September of 1992, Phillips went to Colorado where he formulated a scam scheme, contacting several local real-estate agents and claiming to be a prospective buyer named Mark Wright; shown over fifty properties by the agents, he ran his scam on at least two of them. Whenever he was shown a house by an agent, Phillips would watch the agent unlock the house's lock-box containing its keys and memorize said lock-box's combination. After purchasing the property, he would immediately sell it but make it look as if he were putting it up for rent. On October 6, Phillips, operating under his alias, met Cheryl Meyer, a Denver woman who found an advertisement of one of his properties up for rent in the Rocky Mountain News, at 1708 South Bryant Street.[2]

Yet here it is stated that the wife of Phillips Jr. was one Jeanette Theresa Federico:[MSM 5]

The Los Angeles Police Department's massive investigation into the North Hollywood bank robbery is winding to a close as investigators acknowledge that the deaths of the two robbers could leave forever unanswered the biggest remaining question: Where did the more than $1 million in cash go?

With just one elusive lead remaining, department officials say the money may never be recovered.

The missing link is the wife of one of the dead men, Larry Eugene Phillips Jr. The woman, Jeanette Theresa Federico, apparently was in Los Angeles on Feb. 28, the day of the robbery. But she has since disappeared, police say.

Without her, the investigation has reached a dead end.

"We'll continue to look for her, but it's pretty much over," said Assistant Chief Bayan Lewis. "With their [the robbers'] demise that day went some answers. . . . We can't spend resources forever on this."

Most detectives assigned to the North Hollywood bank robbery are now working on new cases. The internal police review of the incident, which involved an unprecedented 32 officers who fired shots and another two dozen police witnesses, is now being written.

Emil Mătăsăreanu

  • Born in Timișoara, Romania on July 19, 1966. He was overweight and frequently suffering from headaches as a result of his epilepsy condition. His parents, Viorel and Valarie, who worked as a political dissident and (possible) State Opera member respectively, decided to move to the U.S. in 1974 after recognizing the difficult circumstances brought by the Romanian rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Relocating to Los Angeles, California, the family instantly settled into the new, larger house, which Mătăsăreanu was especially fascinated with. However, Mătăsăreanu's school life was terrible, with the other students bullying him due to his unfamiliar accent and weight, leading to his affinity for computers and hanging around in his house. At sixteen years old, Mătăsăreanu came to aid Valarie in her state-care license to care for developmentally-disabled adults. By this time, he was able to gain a small group of friends. The life of the Mătăsăreanu family soon came to a tragic downfall when tensions between Viorel and Valarie became worse, resulting in a divorce that was apparently the factor in a series of unspecified arrests and a presumed financial ruin that left Valarie's state-care license suspended. In 1983, Mătăsăreanu enrolled into the DeVry Institute of Technology, specifically a three-year course in Electronics Engineering. His interests eventually widened, exemplified when he purchased a red 1983 Kawasaki GPz-550 motorbike that was modified by local mechanic Kenny Perez. However, he had difficulties in riding the bike and was always "left in the dust" by Perez and his group of friends.[2]
  • affinity for computers? At that age, the personal computer was very much a fringe and luxury product

There are just 4 sources online that talk about his father "Viorel Mătăsăreanu", all linked to this bank robbery.

Allegedly, Emil went back to Romania in 1993 and met his future wife, Cristina who bore him a son. They moved into an exclusive estate in Rowland Heights.[MSM 6]

  • He died from 29 bullet wounds in his body from the police[MSM 7]

"Police have said they did not provide immediate medical care to Matasareanu--who lay in the street untreated for more than an hour before being declared dead--for two reasons: There could have been another armed robber in the area and the bomb squad needed to examine the robber for possible grenades or booby traps."


Outside, the first-responding officers heard gunfire from the bank and made another radio call for additional units before taking cover behind their patrol car, weapons trained on the bank doors. While the robbers were still inside, more patrol and detective units arrived and took strategic positions at all four corners of the bank, effectively surrounding it. At approximately 9:24 am, Phillips exited through the north doorway and after spotting a police cruiser 200 feet away, opened fire for several minutes, wounding seven officers and three civilians. He also fired at an LAPD-owned helicopter, surveying above, forcing it to retreat to a safer distance. He briefly retreated inside, then reemerged through the north doorway, while Mătăsăreanu exited through the south.

Phillips and Mătăsăreanu began to engage the officers, firing sporadic bursts into the patrol cars that had been positioned on Laurel Canyon in front of the bank. Officers, armed with standard Beretta 92F, Beretta 92FS 9mm pistols, Smith & Wesson Model 15 .38 caliber revolvers, and a 12-gauge Ithaca Model 37 pump-action shotgun, immediately returned fire. The officers' weaponry could not penetrate the body armor worn by Phillips and Mătăsăreanu, and most of the LAPD officers' service pistols had insufficient range and poor accuracy at long distances. Additionally, the officers were pinned down by the heavy spray of gunfire coming from the robbers, making it difficult to attempt a headshot. Several officers acquired five AR-15s from a nearby gun store to combat the robbers.[MSM 1]

Their specialty was the “takeover” robbery. No notes handed to the teller. Just walk in, start shooting, get everybody down on the floor, take the money, and run. In this case time ran out, and poor planning added to the insult. The bank had changed the cash pickup schedule and had little in the vault. Just some small bills. The bank manager did not have access to the ATMs. That was also a recent change. One of the bandits employed armor piercing rounds from his weapon to assault an ATM. It was already too late. When the robbers exited the bank with their meager haul they were challenged by police with weapons drawn. The historic fire fight began, and the video cameras rolled.

In the parking lot the robbers were immediately on the defensive, but their response was to seize back the initiative using their superior fire power. And this is the thing that led to the arming of California. Prior to the time the LAPD, and most other departments, held off arming police with automatic weapons. The idea was that an unnecessary escalation would result in more civilian casualties than warranted. As a result, police showed up with their service pistols and little else. Only when backup was called in did SWAT members arrive with more fire power.[3]


  • according to the story, Phillips either committed suicide using a gun or was shot by the police, but doesn't look like it
  • Matasareanu flees in a white car but then jumps over in a beige pick-up truck. What was that truck doing there, abandoned in the middle of the road?
  • when Emil is shooting at the police, there is just 1 [!!] police care in a two-way road, where is the back-up from behind by the police?
  • the police finally decide to go around the beige truck but when the first cop sees Emil he doesn't even fire at him to take him down??

Analysis DaveMcGowan

Audiochat on Hoax Busters Call with Dave McGowan, Chris Kendall and John Adams,[HB 1] based on Dave McGowan research into this crazy event:[4]

What are we, in the final analysis, to make of the North Hollywood shootout? The entire incident had a distinctively staged, surreal, made-for-television flavor. As one witness noted, it was "just like a movie."[MSM 8] In fact, as one report mentioned, it was just like one particular movie:

The shooting recalled the bloody 1995 movie "Heat," starring Robert De Niro and A1 Pacino, in which a band of meticulously organized but high-strung bandits hold up a downtown Los Angeles bank. The movie robbers burst into the bank in black clothes and full-body armor, then most are killed in a wild running gun battle through downtown traffic.[MSM 9]

Perhaps it was appropriate then that "the shootout occurred," as CAN noted, "not far from the Disney, Universal and Warner Bros, studios."

See also



Hoax Busters