Just after 9:15 a.m. Friday, armed LAPD officers screeched their cars to a stop in front of B&B Sales, a gun shop in suburban Los Angeles. They were outgunned by suspects in a bank robbery and looking for more powerful weapons.
“We need your help! We have an army out there!” one officer shouted, according to Rachel Cohen, a mortgage broker who works next door to B&B in North Hollywood, 10 miles north of downtown L.A.
The patrol officers - armed only with 9mm handguns and shotguns - were facing “a million-to-one odds” against robbers wearing body armor and toting high-powered automatic rifles with ranges up to five times that of the officers’ weapons, said Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Dan Hoffman.
The gun store’s manager, who asked not to be identified, said he opened his warehouse to the police officers who were desperate for semi-automatic rifles, high-powered semi-automatic shotguns and 4,000 rounds of “rifle shots,” or ammunition far more powerful than the LAPD’s.
Half a dozen patrol cars were outfitted from the store’s warehouse with six semiautomatic rifles and two semiautomatic shotguns, which amount to about $8,000, he said.
The shop’s rifles are effective up to 300 yards, compared to the LAPD officers’ handguns that only have a range up to 50 yards and to the department’s pump shotguns that have a use of up to 100 yards.
“Police were running in and out of the B&B and employees were running out with crates filled with guns, bullets and ammunitions,” said Sandy Shover, an underwriter for All City Real Estate Loans.