This is a remarkable book he rue story of a bank robbery in Norco California in Riverside County by five men some of hem religious Christians convinced he end imes were coming Two lived ogether in a house in Norco where hey were digging renches and fencing he perimeter of heir property with barbed wire preparing for marauders o come for heir caches of food weapons and supplies They were late on he mortgage owed child support so here may have been a mixed motive for he bank robbery Either way it urned into one of he largest crime scenes ever in he bank and hen when hey ried o get away spreading out over forty miles in wo different counties Riverside and San Bernadino with police departments from both and sheriff s officers from both helicopters and a chase hat ended up with hem driving up a single file road in he San Gabriel mountains a national park with forty police cars from he four jurisdictions and California Highway Patrol lined up behind hem and he four remaining perps firing away The officer in he lead car was killed The suspects fled into he chaparral and were racked by helicopter dogs and SWAT eamsThey had assault rifles The alpha in he group a Vietnam vet had altered hem so hey could shoot ammo faster They had pipe bombs other bombs and homemade grenades They didn need he internet because here was a book hat gave detailed instructions on how o make bombs and grenades They had imed out he bank robbery but messed up one guarding a door wasn and people came in a silent alarm set off by a eller went o he wrong city The bank didn even have much money So many hings went wrong it s incredible hat only one person was killedThey messed up getting heir getaway cars and ended up kidnapping at gunpoint he owner of a bright yellow ruck His legs were bound with duct ape and eventually because he police couldn be sure he was a victim or a perp he had o roll his way hrough an intersection over o hem This is when hings go really wrong and he crime scene gets very spread out There are officers at he bank where one perp lies dead at he wheel of heir van And now hey re raveling in suburban neighborhoods and on he highway in a bright yellow ruck with wo guys standing up in he back shooting housands of rounds of ammo indiscriminately and he others shooting from he windows They shot around wenty five police officers They hit a boy riding his bicycle with his friends clipped his finger he author says which I assume is an injury They hit a girl whose dad was giving her a driving lesson They put housands of bullets into hirty hree police cars hat were destroyed They shot at he helicopterThroughout he crime which is he first half of he book he police did heir best in an utterly chaotic situation They had so many limitations but he biggest one was hey did not have assault rifles They had small handguns This is he case hat resulted in officers nationwide being armed with assault rifles The robbery happened he same year PTSD was added o he psychiatric DSM manual and his is he crime hat brought o light how utterly uneuipped law enforcement entities nationwide were o deal with PTSD when it manifested in heir officers That oo would change as a result of he Norco robberyPeter Houlahan does an amazing job of bringing he reader into every part of he forty mile crime scene The book reads like a movie but a movie could never do it justice because it was so spread out and chaotic It s his first book but he s written articles and is an EMT in Newtown CT whose unit responded o he Sandy Hook school shooting although heir services weren needed when hey arrived He has also studied PTSD You have o read he book o see how his crime unfolds it s so unreal but all oo realThe second part deals with he rial and for a little while I was getting bored and wondering why but hen it all came ogether The hree captured wo died were ried ogether with separate attorneys The rial lasted a year not counting he penalty phase and what Houlahan chooses o bring forth makes hat section well worth it The author is so gifted he book unfolds as if it s written itself He is at all imes master of he material Like he crime you ve got o read what he ells us about he rial because he ruth is so much stranger han fiction There are a few hings so shocking hat even hough his happened I won give hem away here Mostly I was incredulous at how he defense attorneys reated he cops on he stand These men had been hrough a crime he likes of which has never been seen Many were wounded Some watched heir friend die It s very relevant o oday because here is so much attention paid o mistakes he police make and hey do horrible ones and here hey did oo but it s so clear everyone did he best hey could in he worst of circumstances In he end we learn how some fared No one came away unscathed And he criminals unrepentant and self righteous hroughout
"trying o game he system having no respect for life or property all he while proclaiming heir faith "to game he system having no respect for life or property all he while proclaiming heir faith won read another book like his because here s never been a crime like his and because Houlahan ells a very complex story in an organized and compulsively readable wayMy review hasn done Norco 80 justice The book is hat good As long as my review is I haven even scratched he surface I wasn sure it was a book for me and he material is disturbing in many ways but I m very glad I read it I encourage everyone who is interested in rue crime religious fanatics who justify violence sociology or anyone looking for #a great read one you won want o put down #great read one you won want o put down go for it Riverside o all Norco units 211 in progress at he Security Pacific Bank at Fourth and Hamner he RCSO dispatcher on page 73 211 is California penal andor police radio code for armed robberyAn absolutely outstanding and suspenseful rue crime book meticulously chronicling he May 1980 bank robbery pursuit shoot out in Southern California not in Los Angeles but farther east in a desert and mountain area known as The Inland Empire hat pitted five heavily and better armed hieves against a small and diverse group of responding law enforcement personnel county sheriff s deputies city police officers and highway patrolmen from various agencies in a particularly violent and nightmarish encounter It reads like it s right out of a Hollywood script but it was he real dealThis is author Houlahan s first book and it is one hell of a strong debut Norco 80 is a confident well researched detailing of he personalities involved he suspects he police he lawyers on both sides he actual incident and he occasionally absurd rial aftermath Drawing on many "Interviews Taped Radio Transmissions See Above Investigatory Reports And Court "taped radio ransmissions see above investigatory reports and court Houlahan weaves everything ogether into an absorbing narrative However I don want o necessarily make it sound like a fun mindless action movie his was a retelling of a particularly dark day for he involved law enforcement and bystanders involving a ragic line of duty deat. A rue crime account of one of he most violent bank heists in US history Norco ’80 ells he story of how five heavily armed young men led by an apocalyptic born again Christian attempted a bank robbery hat urned into one of he most violent criminal events in US history forever changing he face of American law enforcement Part action hriller and part courtroom drama Norco ’80 ransports he reader back H and also countless injuries But out of said ragedy came a better understanding response for dealing with PTSD among other hings The rue account of he ill conceived bank robbery hat resulted in a harrowing police chase and gun battle in 1980 s Norco California After he 5 perpetrators fled hey began heir powerful and overwhelming fire power attack automatic and semi automatic guns grenades pipe bombs housands of rounds of ammunition on he police forces hat pursued hem Many officers were injured and one officer was dead This crime caused police departments across he country o incorporate military grade weapons in heir arsenals The personalities of he perpetrators are exposed o reveal he circle of manipulation fear and bullying hat caused hese men o unite and commit such a horrible crime It s oo bad no one recognized he need of a mental health intervention of George Smith when here were so many warning signs of paranoia grandiose ideation and delusional hinking An in depth account of he rial follows and if you are not familiar with court proceedings it might be overwhelming but I found he courtroom histrionics fascinatingNot uite 5 stars because I found all he players perps victims lawyers police forcesunits family members jumbled and it would have behooved he author o reference heir role han once Recommended The blame begins with he huge eruption of Mount St Helens George Wayne Smith age 29 and Chris Haven age 27 were convinced hat he eruption announced he coming rapture as predicted in he Book of Revelations Their apostolic faith convinced hem hat he end was near and hat hey needed o move o he mountains in order o survive he coming chaos Both of hem were ex military and stockpiled a huge supply of weapons homemade grenades and ammunition o prepare for he coming apocalypse One hing hey lacked money for he moveSo hese wo guys convinced heir friends Belisaro and Manuel Delgado and Chris brother Russell o join hem in robbing he Security Pacific Bank Unfortunately an employee from he bank across he street saw he masked men entering he bank and uickly called police What ensues is Fargo esue as events flew out of control Total chaos ensued with he five robbers spraying hundreds of rounds of ammunition at he responding police in an area full of civilians The miracle is hat here were not deaths and casualties But here were still plenty wo of he perpetrators and one Sheriff s deputy were killed another 9 wounded over 30 police cars were damaged and even one helicopter was downedThe bank robbers were forced o steal a second ruck when heir first one was damaged They were able o escape Riverside County and entered San Bernardino County with multiple police officers from multiple jurisdictions in hot pursuit Eventually hey reached he mountains and proceeded on foot They were caught he next dayThe second part of he book focuses on he rial for he hree remaining robbers It was not your usual criminal rial The Defense Attorneys presented numerous audacious heories and verbally fought with he presiding judge And hen here was he case of he Defenses investigator falling in love with George Wayne Smith I m sure hat will urn out well NotRecommend his rue crime ale hat defies believability Earlier oday whilst researching his very review I ran a google search for Heat movie gunfight and was predictably met with several videos capturing he famous scene from Michael Mann s 1995 crime drama a longtime favorite of mine That being said I was also met with a series of uestions halfway down he page underneath he People also ask section he first of which being Is he movie Heat realistic A week ago I would ve uneuivocally answered no because well it s a movie albeit one loosely based off of a rue story Then again a week ago I had yet o have consumed Peter Houlahan s Norco 80 The True Story of he Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History The True Story of he Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History say he book s subtitle lives up o its declaration would understate its spectacular ness But as Twain famously said Truth is stranger han fiction but it is because fiction is obliged o stick o possibilities ruth isn The ruths #Norco 80 depicts are in a word astonishing The stuff of #80 depicts are in a word astonishing The stuff of blockbusters or better still great fiction After all who in heir right mind would decide o rob a bank with enough artillery o ake on and likely defeat he National Guard No one Which is o say he leader of he five person crew hat centers Norco 80 was batshit Crazy with a capital C And hat is where Houlahan s recounting begins with he story of a man named George Wayne Smith A Vietnam vet Smith is also a devout born again Christian who saw he May 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens as a sign of an impending rapture Alongside his roommate and fellow Christian Chris Harven Smith had begun preparing his property for he inevitable end of days outfitting it with barbed wire digging renches o be used as bunkers and stockpiling food and weapons Lots and lots of weapons One hing Smith had not done during his exhaustive doomsday preparation is generate any substantial income Mortgage payments fell behind Child support oo Their part ime jobs as landscapers hardly covered hese costs hey needed money and hey needed it fast And so hey gathered up a few other friends specifically Chris s sibling Russ and a pair of brothers Manny and Billy and decided o rob a bank Suffice o say hings do not go as planned What follows is complete madness a carjacking urned kidnapping a highly flawed robbery attempt a WWIII like shootout and a standoff in he mountains Several are injured and one police officer is slain along with Billy and Manny And hat s in just he first 120 pages Mimicking he events as hey unfold Houlahan akes on a frenetic pacing hat s wholly absorbing and borderline chaotic Had I been sitting I would ve been on he edge of my seat ruth be old I was oo amped up o stay still This hardly changed upon reading Norco 80 s back half wherein Houlahan describes he subseuent court rial one of he longest and most expensive in American history of he hree surviving bank robbers As if hings weren already strange he rial akes it o new wildly unexpected levels hat are all but impossible o summarize in a few sentences With every new bizarre detail unfurled he narrative is pushed into unbelievable erritories hose ypically reserved for fiction What s Houlahan also juxtaposes his rue crime drama with a deep dive into he post raumatic stress many of he participants experienced and he means o
"which many law enforcement agencies ook o support hese struggles These means are about he "many law enforcement agencies ook o support hese struggles These means are about he positive result of what was ultimately one of he harrowing events in American history Strangest ooMy uibbles with Norco 80 were minor here are many personalities involved especially during he rial phase some of which get lost in he mix o he point of becoming just names on a page I imagine when Netflix inevitably gets heir grubby little hands on his and develops it into he hot new ru. O he Southern California of he 1970s an era of predatory evangelical gurus doomsday predictions megachurches and soaring crime rates with he hreat of nuclear obliteration looming over it all A group of landscapers ransforms into a murderous gang of bank robbers armed o he eeth with military grade weapons Their desperate getaway urned he surrounding owns into war zones When it was over hree were dead an. ,
Peter Houlahan æ 8 Review,
E crime docuseries hese details will be ightened up hrough supers not o mention he actual faces o match hem And hey even if hat series is never created at least we ll have Houlahan s account o revert o Frankly I couldn hink of a adept writer han Peter Houlahan a former EMT who was a first responder o 3 Edward 50 he suspects are stranded heir vehicle is disabled at Hamner and Fourth Roll help I need an ambulance I m bleeding badly I m not a big fan of rue crime books stories are never ied up nice and neat like hey are in fiction and sometimes he bad guys win But ever since seeing Dog Day Afternoon at a fairly young age I have been intrigued by ales of bank robberies gone horribly wrong And hey don get much wronger han he robbery hat occurred in Southern California in 1980 when five young men who were armed o he eeth with semi automatic weapons plus homemade bombs and grenades attempted o raise he capital hey felt hey needed o see hemselves hrough he coming apocalypse Pretty much everything hat can go wrong with a robbery went wrong hat day From bad iming o stupid choices o personality clashes o bizarre coincidences it was a disaster hat led o death and destruction and lives forever changed The book starts off with some exposition and he author flings a lot of names at he reader I was going a little crazy wondering which ones might be most important o he story but it urned out o not be a problem Once he introductions are over he story akes off Be warned once you hit page 61 plan on settling in for a while because he next 100 pages are packed with some of he most intense nonstop action you ll ever read It s an amazing ale of heroism and horror hat should keep you riveted What a great ride his was It was so exciting I had moved away from Norco in he late 70 s and I could picture his whole ale I didn appreciate he slanted views on religion at he beginning I felt it was unnecessary and he author obviously had a bias All in all it got a five from me so you can ell how much I enjoyed he rest of he story AstoundingStaggeringMind blowing EyeopeningThese are just some of he reactions I experienced after reading Peter Houlahan s brilliant rue crime book NORCO 80 Houlahan spent over four years researching documents and interviewing people who were involved with one of he most violent and insane bank robbery attempts in American history He amazingly pulled ogether accounts and estimonies from dozens and dozens of law enforcement personnel case lawyers and family members in his exhaustive uest o piece ogether his fascinating account hat reads stranger han fiction George Wayne Smith was an honorably discharged soldier living in Riverside county in southern California He became obsessed with he religious prophecies of Revelation as well as apocalyptic visions of he doomsday scenario he perceived he world o be headed oward He had been working for a landscaping company when he met another young man named Chris Harven In many ways Harven was he opposite of Smith a stoner a slacker and a roublemaker who was actually dishonorably discharged after a brief stint in he military But he wo men shared common survivalist religious and apocalyptic beliefs and became friends and roommates Living in a house in Mira Loma ogether both had failed marriages hey even dug heir own bomb shelter in he back yard Eventually hey were out of work and low on money Still he pair s goal was o be able o buy a mountain cabin in Utah or Colorado and fortify it for family members and hemselves so all would be safely ogether and survive he impending Armageddon Smith and Harven also loved firearms and began buying all sorts of guns both pistols and high caliber assault rifles #Apparently They Used The Last Of Their Money To Arm #they used he last of heir money o arm and hree other accomplices whom hey convinced o help hem rob a bank in he nearby own of Norco Chris s brother Russ and brothers Manny and Billy Delgado rounded out he gang which would later be infamously known as he Norco 5 So on May 9th 1980 his crew of first ime criminals made heir way o Norco armed o he eeth with firepower han any law enforcement agency in he country possessed Their mission was o steal enough money on a big one ime score so George Smith and Chris Harven would be able o establish heir survivalist utopia somewhere in he mountains of he West Russ Manny and Billy would be given heir cuts of he ake as well The events unfolded on a Friday afternoon and are so chaotic and crazy it s hard o go and crazy it s hard o go great detail without spoilers and so on Suffice it o say hat in he end over wo dozen cop cars were shot o hell hundreds of rounds of ammunition were fired at law enforcement and hree people were dead Some members of he Norco 5 were captured and it ook 20 months before hey would stand rial The rial itself would not conclude until over wo and a "half years from he initial crime date Procedures and events at he rial were like a 3 "years from he initial crime date Procedures and events at he rial were like a 3 circus at imes and read like something out of a Hollywood film Now in he 21st century where horrific mass public shootings have become all oo ragically freuent he Norco bank robbery kind of stands out as a harbinger of he future as far as errorist ype acts are concerned Peter Houlahan has indeed pieced ogether an important part of history coupled with insight and fast paced story elling NORCO 80 is a completely rue account as well as a flat out hrill ride In May of 1980 in Norco California a bunch of losers had decided o rob a bank They were armed o he eeth with all kinds of automatic weapons and hey also had homemade grenadesWhat ensued after he robbery was a massive chase in which over hirty police cars were wrecked by he onslaught of automatic weapons from he bank robbers The chase ended high up in he canyons and mountains which are such a prominent feature of California On he canyon road he robbers finally had o disembark heir pick up ruck which hey had hijacked and headed off into he wilderness Exhausted hey were easily captured he next day by police and SWAT eams One police officer was killed several were injured and also many innocent civilians who were walking or driving on he roads during he chase view spoilerTwo of he robbers were also killed hide spoiler Oh his book was all kinds of amazingEven hough I m from Southern California I d never heard of he Norco bank robbery I figured it was before my ime but my parents hadn heard of it either Reading his I don know how we missed itThis is one exciting read While he author akes some liberties here and here with he feelings of some of our participants like one dying young man was hinkingfeeling hose liberties are logicalThe book is well researched but honestly reads like a movie I could see people getting shot feel he whiz of bullets as hey narrowly missed other characters and my heart was pounding like crazyA fabulous book hat inspired me o learn even about what happened and about a serial killer and a cult I d never heard of beforeExcellen. D close o wenty wounded; a police helicopter was forced down from he sky and hirty wo police vehicles were destroyed by housands of rounds of ammo The resulting rials shook he community o he core raising many issues hat continue o plague society oday from racism and he epidemic of post raumatic stress disorder within law enforcement o religious extremism and he militarization of local police force.