North Hollywood Larry Phillips


March 31, 2008, 08:06 PM
Question: What type of pistol did Larry Phillips shoot himself with at the end of the North Hollywood shootout? I heard it was a BHP but wikipedia says it was Beretta. Anyone know? I ask because i guess there is some debate whether he shot himself intentionally or if it was an accident when reloading.

Anyone care to comment?

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March 31, 2008, 08:08 PM
I don't know the answer for sure, but I do know not to trust Wikipedia for anything factual.

March 31, 2008, 08:10 PM
I always heard it was Beretta. I've seen the footage and I would agree, but I'm not positive.

Definitely Intentional.

March 31, 2008, 08:13 PM
During the reenactment on Shootout! a Beretta was used.

March 31, 2008, 08:15 PM
During the reenactment on Shootout! a Beretta was used.

That is what inspired this post.

I had heard in some other TV special that he had BHP and tried to reload it with one hand and shot himself straight up through his chin.

Winchester 73
March 31, 2008, 08:17 PM
The whole story:

Hollywood shootout
From Wikipedia
North Hollywood shootout

Location North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
Date February 28, 1997
9:17 a.m. – 10:01 a.m. (UTC-7)
Attack type Bank robbery
Weapon(s) AKM, Beretta pistol, AR-15
Deaths 2 (both perpetrators)
Injured 16[1]
Perpetrator(s) Larry Eugene Phillips, Jr.† and
Emil Dechebal Matasareanu†
The North Hollywood shootout was an armed confrontation between two heavily-armed and armored bank robbers, Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Matasareanu, and patrol and SWAT officers of the Los Angeles Police Department in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on February 28, 1997. It happened when responding patrol officers engaged Phillips and Matasareanu leaving the robbed bank. Seventeen officers and civilians sustained injuries before both robbers were killed. Phillips and Matasareanu had robbed several banks prior to their attempt in North Hollywood and were notorious for their heavy armament, which included automatic rifles.

United States patrol officers at the time were typically armed with a 9mm or .40 caliber pistol on their person, with a 12-gauge shotgun available in their cars. Phillips and Matasareanu carried fully automatic rifles and wore body armor. Since most handgun calibers cannot penetrate body armor, patrol officers had a significant disadvantage until SWAT arrived with equivalent firepower; they also appropriated several semi-automatic rifles from a nearby firearms dealer to help even the odds. The incident sparked debate on the appropriate firepower for patrol officers to have available in similar situations.

High Incident Bandits

Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Matasareanu first met at Gold's Gym in Venice California in 1989.[3] They had a mutual interest in weightlifting and bodybuilding, but soon had a mutual interest in making money through crime.[3] Phillips imported steel-core ammunition for his illegally modified assault rifles, and acquired Aramid to make body armor.[4] In October 1993, Phillips and Matasareanu were arrested in Glendale, northwest of Los Angeles, California, for speeding.[5] A subsequent search of their vehicle—after Phillips surrendered with a concealed weapon—found two semi-automatic rifles, two handguns, over 1,600 rounds of 7.62 mm rifle ammunition, over 1,200 rounds of 9 mm and .45 caliber handgun ammunition, radio scanners, smoke bombs, improvised explosive devices, body armor vests, and three different California license plates.[6] Though they were initially charged with conspiracy to commit robbery,[7] neither of them served more than 100 days in jail, though they each were put on three years' probation.[8] After their release, most of their seized property was returned to them.[9]

Phillips and Matasareanu were dubbed the "High Incident Bandits" by investigators due to the heavy weaponry they had used in three bank robberies prior to their attempt in North Hollywood.[10] Sometime in 1995, the pair ambushed a Brinks armored car and killed one guard in the robbery; in May 1996, they robbed two branches of Bank of America in San Fernando—they stole approximately $1.5 million United States dollars.[11] On the morning of February 28, 1997, after months of preparation including extensive reconnoitering of their intended target—the Bank of America branch on Laurel Canyon Boulevard—Phillips and Matasareanu loaded three illegally modified fully automatic rifles; a Chinese AK-47 copy, a modified HK91 and an AR-15; two 9 mm Beretta 92F pistols and a .38 caliber revolver; and approximately 3,300 rounds of ammunition—in box and drum magazines—into a white sedan and made their way from their apartment to the bank.[12] They wore their homemade body armor, as well as metal trauma plates to protect vital organs, and they took phenobarbital to calm their nerves.[13]
The shootout

Larry Phillips, Jr. (left) and Emil Matasareanu (right) engaged LAPD officers in a firefight after robbing a branch of Bank of America.Phillips and Matasareanu arrived at the Bank of America branch office at the intersection of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Archwood Street in North Hollywood around 9:17 a.m., and set their watch alarms for 8 minutes, which was the amount of time they estimated it would take for law enforcement officials to respond. (Phillips had been using a radio scanner to listen to police transmissions.)[13] However, as they walked into the bank dressed in dark clothing and armed with automatic rifles they were spotted by an LAPD patrol car driving down Laurel Canyon—and the officers in the car radioed in a possible 211, code for an armed robbery.[14] Inside the bank, Phillips and Matasareanu forced the assistant manager to open the vault; they fired at least 100 rounds to scare those inside the bank so that there would be no resistance.[15] They were able to get $300,305, since the bank altered the delivery schedule.[10] At 9:38 a.m., Phillips exited the bank through its north doorway, Matasareanu exited through its south doorway, and they encountered dozens of LAPD patrol officers who had arrived after the first-responding officers radioed a "shots fired" call.[16]

Phillips and Matasareanu engaged the officers in a firefight, spraying armor-piercing rounds into the patrol cars that had been positioned on Laurel Canyon in front of the bank.[12] The patrol officers were armed with standard Beretta 92-type 9 mm pistols and .38 caliber revolvers, and some also carried 12-gauge pump-action shotguns, but the body armor worn by Phillips and Matasareanu was strong enough to withstand them.[10] Multiple officers and civilians were wounded in the 7 to 8 minutes between when the shooting began and Matasareanu entered their white sedan to make a getaway; Phillips remained outside of the vehicle and continued firing upon the police.[10] A TAC (tactical) alert was issued, and 18 minutes after the shooting had begun, a SWAT team—armed with automatic weapons—arrived in response to the alert and engaged Phillips and Matasareanu; they also commandeered an armored truck which they used to extract wounded civilians and officers who were pinned down.[10]
At 9:51 a.m., Phillips, who had been using the getaway vehicle as cover, split up from Matasareanu, turned east on Archwood Street, and continued to fire at the police with his AKM.[17] He reloaded the automatic rifle with a 100-round drum magazine shortly before he was shot in the left thumb, which may have prevented him from removing the shell that caused a stovepipe malfunction in his AKM.[10] He set it down, pulled out a Beretta pistol, and continued firing at the police with his unwounded right hand. He dropped the pistol and picked it up, and shortly thereafter, Phillips placed the muzzle of his pistol under his chin and apparently shot himself while a round from a police officer's handgun simultaneously severed his spine.[18] The question remains as to whether Phillips intentionally committed suicide or accidentally squeezed the trigger when his spine was severed while attempting to reload his weapon one-handed.[3]

Matasareanu's vehicle was rendered nearly inoperable after its tires were blown out.[10] At 9:56 a.m., he commandeered a pickup truck on Archwood, three blocks east of where Phillips was shot down, and transferred all of his weapons and ammunition from the getaway car to the truck.[19] However, Matasareanu was unable to start the truck since its owner had taken the keys with him when he fled.[10] A patrol car driven by SWAT officers quickly arrived—Matasareanu left the truck, took cover behind the original getaway car, and engaged them immediately. At least one SWAT officer fired his M16 rifle below the cars and wounded Matasareanu in his unprotected lower legs, and he soon surrendered.[10] The police radioed for an ambulance, but Matasareanu succumbed to his wounds by the time the ambulance had reached the scene.

Most of the incident, including the death of Phillips and the capture of Matasareanu, was captured on tape by news helicopters that hovered over the scene and televised the action as events unfolded.[12] Over 300 various law enforcement officers had responded to the city-wide TAC alert.[20] By the time the shooting had stopped, Phillips and Matasareanu had fired about 1,300 rounds.[10] Phillips was hit 11 times, including the self-inflicted shot to the head; Matasareanu was hit 29 times, and died from shock caused by blood loss.[12]

[edit] Aftermath and controversy

The illegally-modified automatic AR-15 with a drum magazine used by Matasareanu, photographed at the location where he was shot down. The dark item in the background marked "25" is the mask that he wore.Phillips and Matasareanu were firing fully-automatic rifles loaded with armor-piercing ammunition[21][22] able to penetrate walls and cars, obstacles normally considered "safe cover".[10] The robbers were protected by body armor, which could not be penetrated by the officers' handguns and shotguns. [3] While Phillips was shot in the hand and shortly afterwards committed suicide, a SWAT officer reported during the final gunfire exchange that his M16 rounds could not penetrate Matasareanu's armor (due to the trauma plates), suggesting that the outcome could have been different had both robbers been wearing leg protection. [10] The homemade body armor was heavy, reportedly[attribution needed] weighing as much as three bowling balls, and limited the robbers' mobility.

The ineffectiveness of the pistol rounds and shotgun pellets in penetrating their body armor led to a trend in the United States towards arming selected police patrol officers with semi-automatic 5.56 mm AR-15 type rifles.[10] Seven months after the incident, The Pentagon gave 600 surplus M16s to the LAPD;[23] other cities, like Miami, also moved to supply patrol officers, not just SWAT teams, with heavier firepower.[24] LAPD patrol vehicles now carry AR-15s as standard issue, with bullet-resistant Kevlar plating in their doors as well.[25] Many local police departments now issue AR-15-type rifles to patrol officers, rather than 12 gauge shotguns[citation needed].

Part of the controversy surrounding this issue arises from claims that documentaries and reports use sensationalism rather than factual reporting of the event.[attribution needed] Some critics argue that public policy changes and laws should be based on actual trends in crime, rather than misleading statistical outliers.[attribution needed] Disproportionate attention has been paid to the claimed inadequacy of police weapons rather than the demonstrable inadequacy of their techniques.[citation needed] In this case, hundreds of rounds were fired at two heavily armed and heavily armored men. The responding police officers directed their fire at the "center mass" or torsos of Matasereanu and Phillips. Each man was shot and penetrated by at least ten bullets, yet both continued to violently attack officers for the extended engagement. Matasereanu received multiple less than lethal cardiovascular injuries and as a result continued to fight with and injure officers until he eventually succumbed to hypovolemic shock and died of blood loss.[citation needed] Phillips, however, may have been stopped by an LAPD Sniper's bullet fired into his Central Nervous System.[citation needed]

Matasareanu after police removed the mask, but before his deathThe LAPD was later criticized for not allowing Matasareanu to receive medical attention immediately, which could have been life-saving;[attribution needed] the department countered by stating that ambulance personnel were following standard procedure in hostile situations by refusing to enter "the hot zone", as Matasareanu was still considered to be dangerous.[10] Some reports indicate that he was lying on the pavement with no weapons for approximately an hour before ambulances arrived.[26] A lawsuit, on the behalf of Matasareanu's children, was filed against members of the LAPD, claiming that Matasareanu's civil rights were violated and that he was allowed to bleed to death.[27] The lawsuit was tried in United States District Court in February and March 2000, and ended in a mistrial with the jury deadlocked.[28] The suit was later dropped when Matasareanu's family agreed to dismiss the action with a waiver of malicious prosecution.[29]

The year following the shootout, 19 officers of the LAPD received the Medal of Valor for their actions,[30] and met President Bill Clinton.[31] In 2003, a film about the incident was produced, entitled 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out. In 2004, the Los Angeles Police Department Museum opened an exhibit featuring two life-size mannequins of Phillips and Matasareanu fitted with the body armor they wore, as well as the weaponry they used in the firefight.[32]

March 31, 2008, 08:35 PM
The film 44 minutes showed a Stainless 92.

March 31, 2008, 10:24 PM
As others have said, it was a Beretta 92.

April 1, 2008, 10:24 AM
I ask because i guess there is some debate whether he shot himself intentionally or if it was an accident when reloading.Why would he be reloading if he still had rounds in the pistol? I realize he was not the smartest guy in the world, and he had been shot several times, but I believe all the rifle magazines he dropped had been shot empty. Not sure why one would think he would stop shooting his last remaining firearm to reload before it was completely empty.

April 1, 2008, 09:31 PM
It is my understanding he put the gun to his chin but at that moment an officer simultaneously fired and him in the neck. It was a real odd situation.

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