Maintaining Control

Transcript by Nancy J. Rigg

Appearing on this page is a portion of the radio traffic from both LAPD's North Hollywood Frequency and Van Nuys Frequency during the Bank of America incident. Tonja Bellard is the North Hollywood dispatcher, while Guadalupe De La Cruz handled Van Nuys, assisted by Robyn Frazier. Unit 9L89 is Officer Martin Whitfield, one of the most seriously wounded officers in this incident.
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Segment starts as the suspects are fleeing the bank:

Bellard: All the officers are pinned down by heavy gunfire.

Officer: (yelling, continuous rapid fire in the background) Suspects are fleeing! They're heavily armed. They're wearing body armor!

Bellard: Suspects are wearing body armor and are attempting to flee. All officers suspects are wearing body armor. Which direction?

Wounded Detective: I need an RA unit. Please help. In front of Builder's Emporium parking lot.

Bellard: Unit requesting help, what is your location? In the parking lot?

Wounded Detective: Affirmative. South of Hughes in the parking lot and in the building. Multiple officers hit!

Other Dispatcher: All units, this is a citywide tac alert. We are now on tac alert due to an unusual occurrence in North Hollywood Division. A citywide tac alert at this time until further notice.

Officer: They're going north. They're going through the front out north.

Bellard: The suspects are exiting through the north front.

Officer: Suspects are on the north side, walking around like nothing. They've got AK-47s. Two of them. They're dressed in all black. Heavy body armor.

Bellard: The suspects are exiting the bank on the north side of the building, armed with AK-47s, wearing heavy body armor.

De La Cruz (adds): Wearing all black clothing.

Air Unit: These guys are firing at the officers. Tell the officers to stand back.

Bellard: The suspects are firing at all officers. Stay down per the air unit. The RA has been notified per the officers in the building, at the bank, and the officer down.

Officer: The suspects are behind the two white vehicles on the north side of the bank.

Bellard: The suspects are behind the two white vehicles on the north side of the bank. One suspect has entered a white vehicle.

Officer: One suspect is still firing at the officers to the rear of the location.

Bellard: All officers stay down. One suspect is still firing at officers in the rear of the bank. One suspect has entered a white vehicle on the west side of the bank. Shots are still being fired to the rear of the bank.

(Unidentified): Officer needs help!

Bellard: The suspects are now on the north side of the bank.

Whitfield: (weak) 9L89... need help.

De La Cruz: 9L89 stand by.

Air Unit: Stop that vehicle north of Kittridge.

Command: Do not stop that vehicle. They've got automatic weapons. There's nothing we have that can stop them.

Bellard: SWAT unit command...

Officer: ...unit available to go to B&B Guns and pick up some weapons.

Bellard: SWAT unit, we have an officer down Victory west of Laurel Canyon. He needs help code three. He is passing out... the officer needs help immediately.

Command: Who do we have to bring in? We don't have enough officers to handle this.

Officer: Alert the air unit to go up higher. Suspect has retrieved additional weapons from the trunk of his vehicle.

Bellard: Air unit, you need to get more air. The suspect is retrieving additional weapons from the vehicle and shots are being fired.

Officer: We have civilian traffic crossing into this kill zone.

Officer: The suspect is walking around east of the bank. He's just daring people to come after him. He's got additional weapons. The trunk is open on his vehicle.

Command: If somebody has a shot, take it.

Bellard: One suspect is walking east of the bank. (Command) advises if someone has a shot, take it.

Officer: We've been taking it. This guy's not going down. He's got heavy body armor.

Command: Go for the head.

Bellard: The suspect has heavy body armor. The officers are firing at him and he's not going down.

Officer: Is the other suspect still in the vehicle?

Officer: We've got heavy automatic weapons fire right now.

Officer: B&B Guns is not open. We'll be searching for another location.

De La Cruz: Any unit available to respond to 9L89, he's losing consciousness. Officer has been hit.

Officer: 9-Adam 37, we're en route.

Whitfield: ETA... on help...?

Officer: We have a Channel 7 helicopter almost right on top of that area. Why don't you tell them to get out of here?

Officer: We need someone here with some heavy guns. We need SWAT code three.

Bellard: One officer is at a gun store getting several AR-15s for the unit.

Officer: (garbled) You can get a clear shot of the suspect from that location.

Bellard: Officer advised that you can get a clear shot of the suspect eastbound Archwood from behind the Hughes Market.

Officer: Suspects may have armor-piercing ammo.

Bellard (clearly and slowly): The suspects possibly have armor-piercing ammunition.

Command: Air unit, where's that suspect on the north side?

Air unit: Suspect's next to the white car with the open trunk.

Officer: If you've got a shot of the suspects, go for the legs. They don't have body armor on their legs.

Bellard: Unit advises that the suspects are on the north side of the B of A. They don't have body armor on their legs. Shoot for the legs.

Command: Contact North Hollywood Station. Have 'em bring extra reserve ammunition out to the scene code three. Also we need extra batteries for these radios.

Air Unit: One suspect is inside the vehicle and he's not come out. He may be hit. The other suspect is walking on the east side of the vehicle. (Yells) He's taking aim, now! Everybody down!

Bellard: Everybody down. Shots are being fired. One suspect is possibly injured inside the vehicle. And one is outside the white vehicle to the rear of the bank.

Officer: Advise units on the perimeter that when the officer is rescued, fire department has set up a command post at Fire Station 89 and is bringing in a helicopter to take him out.

Bellard: Bring the officer when he's rescued to Fire Station 89. They have units standing by.

Whitfield (weak, signal fading): 9...L...89... L...89

De La Cruz: 9L89, hang in there.

Whitfield (barely audible): 9L89, thank you...


Bellard: We have RA en route for suspect and civilians. Air unit can you broadcast for all civilians to go back inside on Laurel Canyon.

Command: Does anybody have a clear shot at these guys?

Bellard: They're trying, but the suspects are shooting right back at them.

Officer: Suspect vehicle's moving!

Bellard: Suspect vehicle is moving.

Officer: It's driving down to the rear of the bank. It looks like he's trying to pick up the other suspect.

Whitfield (weak): I... don't see... help...

De La Cruz: 9L89, somebody is en route code three. Hang in there.

(No response from 9L89)

Officer: We've got one suspect driving the white vehicle, eastbound from the north parking lot. We've got one suspect on foot. The suspect on foot is behind a long trailer rig.

Bellard: SWAT is moving in.

Officer: They're moving eastbound!

De La Cruz (forcefully): 9L89, 9L89, come in... 9L89, 9L89, come in!

(No response from 9L89)

Bellard: The officer that's down at Archwood and Laurel Canyon appears to be unconscious.

Air Unit: All units use caution. You've got a suspect on foot north of the bank.

Officer: Be advised that any units we have here are unusable. The black and whites are all blown out.

Command: At this point the ballgame is with SWAT and the suspects. If the suspects move make sure the air units monitor them so SWAT can take them down. There's no officer that should try to stop these suspects.

De La Cruz: 9L89, 9L89, come in. Unit is almost there.

(No response from 9L89)

Bellard: All units be advised no officers try to get involved, let SWAT try to take the suspects down, if the suspect tries to leave the area the air unit will follow him. Shots are still being fired.

De La Cruz (emotional): 9L89, 9L89... come in...

(she unplugs, RTO Frazier takes over)

Communications Supervisor: Take it easy.

Frazier: She's all right. 9L89, help is coming...

(No response from 9L89)

Air Unit: Be advised that the suspect is out of the white vehicle and shooting at civilians.

Officer: We have a citizen down.

Air Unit: The suspect is in back of the white vehicle. He is now moving slowly eastbound.

Officer: Have we verified that there are no extra suspects in the bank?

De La Cruz: (back on, with strong voice) 9L89, 9L89, come in.

(No response from 9L89)

De La Cruz: 9L89, 9L89, come in!

(No response from 9L89)

Bellard: Be advised, one suspect is in custody.

Officer: Be advised that there are two suspects in custody.

Bellard: Are there any outstanding suspects?

Command: That is unknown. We need rescue ambulances at our command post now code three.

End of segment. With the two primary suspects down, medical aid reaches 9L89 and other wounded officers and civilians. All survive, except for the two suspects.


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