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.