The Most Violent Gunfight in IE history and it occurred in Norco in 1980.




You might think that the event in Hollywood a few years ago, where two suspects dressed in military gear tried to rob a Bank Of America and then shoot it out on live TV was the most violent Gunfight ever recorded....But to Police Officers in the Inland Empire, the most violent shootout occurred not in the in LA, nor in Compton or even Tustin, but rather, in Norco, and before it was over, this violent crime would become the most notorious criminal event in the IE.

In History, it is known quite simply as the Norco Bank Robbery Shootout.....The following is a newspaper report from the old Daily Report.... "May 9, 1980. Shootout between police in Norco, California and five heavily armed suspects armed with assault rifles as well as various explosive and incendiary devices. After a shootout with police at a bank in Norco, the suspects became involved in a prolonged chase in which the suspects shot at police, disabled 33 police vehicles, and civilian cars with improvised explosive devices thrown from the back of a truck. The suspects also disabled a police helicopter. Later the suspects lay in wait for police as they chased them and ambushed them resulting in the death of a police officer and injury to others. One of the suspects was killed in the shootout, one during a standoff with Police, and three were later captured. 8 officers were injured. Deaths: Suspects: 2; Police: 1" Now, here is a first hand story of the robbery as it unfolded before the first officer on the scene......Sheriff Deputy John Bolasky.

Twenty-two years ago, Sheriff Deputy John Bolasky was 24-year-old and a deputy at the Riverside County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department in Norco.....On May 9, 1980, a silent alarm went out from a convenience store in downtown Norco right on 2nd street....He was the first officer to arrive on the scene of a robbery in Norco.....As he got out of his car with just a pistol at his side and patrol baton, He was confronted by five men who were heavily armed with automatic rifles and handguns, hundreds of rounds of hollow-point bullets and homemade grenades. The bank robbers began shooting at him and anything that moved firing more than 200 rounds at Bolasky’s police cruiser, which sustained 47 bullet holes.....As Bolasky’s dove for cover behind his cruiser his body was hit by flying pieces of metal shrapnel from his car.....He suffered injuries to his face, upper left shoulder, both forearms and the left elbow.....The elbow wound proved to be the worst of the injuries as a bullet severed an artery. Though badly wounded, Bolasky stood his ground and shot and killed one of the suspects......Amazingly, It was the first and last time he ever discharged his weapon in the line of duty, and the first time he had been shot at in his entire career as a peace officer. Four suspects managed to escape.....The next day, police shot and killed a one of the suspects as he tried to hold up another store while he was fleeing the scene......Police captured the remaining three, with the help of the public who called in over a thousand leads and who were later convicted of 46 felony counts and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The Norco bank robbery has been described as one of the most violent in history. It’s used to train anti-terrorism agencies throughout the world.....During the shooting, the robbers killed one police officer and wounded eight, including Bolasky. They also shot up a police helicopter and damaged or destroyed 33 police cruisers.

Re: The Most Violent Gunfight in IE history and it occurred ...

I did not realize til the end of Rapid Fire that it was a true story. My heart goes out to your community.

Gunfight in Norco

My brother, James B. Evans, was the Riverside Deputy Sheriff who was killed in the Norco Shootout. There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss him . Thank you to all of you for your kind remarks about him and his actions on that dreadful day.

James B. Evans

Does the RSA plan on having any other events regarding this? I was not born then, but I am in law enforcement, and local to Riverside County. I would also like to know where Evans' resting place is, if possible.

Thank you.

James B. Evans

James is buried in the National Cemetary in Riverside close to Perris, CA. The office there has a map that shows where his plot is located. It's in a lovely spot next to a large tree.
--Kay Evans Schecht

Norco shootout

in response to the main article, the second bank robber who was killed while in pursuit did not rob a store or anything like that. Manuel, was hiding out in the mountains when he was found the next day. Officers approached him and he turned around with his gun, probably aimed at that, and was fired upon. He was the brother of the driver, Bellisario, who was killed. The boys were 17 and 22. It sucks what happened but they were good kids who screwed up.
P.s. Manny is survived by his two children. A son who was born on the same day his father was buried.
rip manny, billy, and officer Evans.

Re: Norco bank robbery 1980

The guy that was taken hostage in the van was my 10th grade math teacher a few years later. (1983-1984)
im not gonna say his name i will just refer to him as " the guy", he never made any indication to students or fellow co workers of his incident. Anyway, come to find out last year my neighbor is very close friends of "the guy", and my neighbor told me the story about the bank robbery. Today i was sitting in the doctors office when i picked up a magazine and headlines read part norco bank robbery 1980. Part one of two, so now im going to purchase this months issue to read part 2."the guy" is still alive and doing well, i see him know and then at my neighbors house.

Re: The Most Violent Gunfight in IE history and it occurred ...

I was at Carls Jr I saw the whole shout out it was like a movie. It's funny how they never talk about the guy they kidnaped and throwen in the back of the van when they stole it before they rob the back I saw that guy come out the back window what a hell of a drop to the ground SMACK! What ever happened to him??????? They never talk about the bomb they set that never went off in Corona

Hey theres a guy going in the bank to rob it!!!!
Oh shut up and finish your burger!
BUT THERE IS!!!!!!!!! Less then a minute BAM BAM POW POW..... It was classic

The other untold part of that story was there was a teller that worked there. I for got her name but she had a big mouth every time you go in there she was running her mouth. I think it's so funny when she started screeeming. They walked over and put a gun in her mouth LOLOL. I could just see them guys and them thinking out loud GOD SHUT UP!!! If I was them guys that would of been the frist order of bis.....

Norco Bank Robbery shootout

The Riverside Sheriffs' Association will host a luncheon to honor the law enforcement heroes of the Norco Bank Robbery, May 9, 1980. It's never too late to thank a hero. The luncheon will be held May 21, 2010 at the Lake Norconian Club in Norco, CA. Please call 951-686-7575 for reservations. EMail files@wordpr.com.

Re: Norco shootout

In 1980 I was 24 yrs old and a brand new female reserve with s.b.s.d in Fontana. It was one of my first days out on patrol. Me and my partner (m.lenihan) picked up the pursuit at Sierra Ave. at either baseline or highland ave. When we ended up 2 cars behind the slain officer I sought cover behind the rear wheel on the drivers side. I remember thinking, "what the hell I am doing here"? I know God was with us because not one bullet hit our unit. I remember Deputy Evan's funeral (while at the church)grateful that I wasn't wearing the uniform because I cried buckets of tears for this man and his family. In a year past I went to his grave on the anniversary of that fateful day to pay my respects and see with my own eyes where he was laid to rest. I received a commendation of Valor from the s.b.s.d. Even though I still look at it from time to time and it makes me feel (somewhat) proud, my thoughts are that it came at a price no law enforcement officer should ever have to pay.

Re: Norco shootout

ello my name is jason dando from melbourne , Australia. today i watched a movie on cable tv called rapid fire , loosely based on the norco bank robbery and shootout . i then spend the next 5 hours researching the incident. i am left speechless. what a terrible and horrifying thing to happen to those deputies and law enforcement people . What a terrific job you all do each and every day. we are very lucky down here in australia that incidents like that don't happen. RIP deputy Evens and thank you for your sacrifice that everyday people can live their lives safer. thankyou , xx

Re: Norco shootout

I remember this day like it was yesterday. I was 16 years old and my mother worked at the bank. My brother was on his way to meet her. The phone rang and it was my mom Moreen screaming and asking me if my brother was still home. I could hear the gunshots going off in the background. I screamed "what is going on" she said, find your brother and stop him from coming here, we are being robbed and then she hung up. We didn't have cell phones back then. All I could do is sit by the phone and turn on the TV to see if it was on the news. My moms boss saved her life, because one of the robbers ask where my mother went. She stayed calm and said I don't know who you're talking about. My mother had snuck to the back room to call about my brother.
The police officers went through hell that day along with all the people in the bank. My heart goes out to everyone, because to this day my mother has night mares. An officer lost their life and others were hurt. I thank all the officer that were there that day "THANK YOU"

Re: Norco shootout

We would like to interview your mother. Please call Laura Bakewell at 951-686-7575. The Riverside Sheriffs' Association is hosting a luncheon on May 21, 2010. We are looking for witnesses to interview. Thank you.

Gunfight in Norco

Hehe I was there hanging out on lytle creek canyon below the town of lytle creek...it was a wonderful day and me and my friends were just killin time by a waterfall...we came up to the car to leave right as the truck went by shooting like crazy at what we counted out to be over 40 police vehicles, corona police, norco police, san bernadino police, chps, unmarked cars and riverside and san bernadino county sheriffs too. we followed the last of the cruisers up to the town of lytle creek just in time to see the police helicopter get shot down. i was 14 but i will never forget that.

Re: Gunfight in Norco

HA i promise you you wernt there.. for two reasons.. your 43 yrs old and your saying hehe? thats hillarious grandma... and also.. the police hellicopter wasnt shot down.. yes it was shot however it landed on its on.. It was force to land so it wouldnt blow up in the air killin the two inside..

Re: Gunfight in Norco

Well your partly right the S.O. helicopter was shot at and it knocked out the radio it was never in danger of blowing up. I know this because my husband Lt. Jon Gibson was the pilot in command of that aircraft at the time.After that they took to sitting on their flack jackets.

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