A pair of well-dressed gunmen were shot to death Friday morning after they confronted two Brinks security guards making a cash pickup at a Beverly Hills bank.
Police investigating the ambush gone awry said the two unidentified suspects were fatally wounded in a hail of bullets after they surprised the guards on the sidewalk outside the Charter Pacific Bank branch at 8383 Wilshire Blvd.
Witnesses reported hearing at least 20 shots in the confrontation.
The two gunmen, both in their 30s, were taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead of multiple gunshot wounds a short time later.
Neither of the Brinks guards making the pickup was injured, nor was a third who remained in their armored truck.
Brinks officials would not comment on the incident. Authorities said the incident started about 10:10 a.m.
The two suspects, who Beverly Hills Police Lt. Frank Salcido said were armed with handguns and "dressed in business attire--shirts and ties"--confronted the two guards as they wheeled a cart loaded with money toward their bulletproof truck.
"I don't know if the gunmen got off any shots," Salcido said. "When officers arrived, they were both lying on the sidewalk, shot and wounded."
Three banks, including the Charter Pacific branch, are grouped together near the intersection of Wilshire and San Vicente boulevards.
The shootings jolted Beverly Hills, which rarely has such a front-row seat to violence.
"We get bank robberies here all the time," Salcido said. "But it's rare when we get shots fired."
Witnesses say that about 10 customers were in the bank when the shooting broke out.
"I heard a loud bang and thought somebody had bumped into one of the props in the lobby and knocked it over," said Beverly Hills resident Stephanie Scott, who was standing at a teller's window when she heard the shots.
"Then we heard a few more pops and someone said 'Hit the ground!' so we all dove for cover.
"There was no hysteria whatsoever. I just did as I was told and tried to stay as still as possible. I didn't want to become a victim."
Officers arrived to find the gunmen on the sidewalk, just outside the main doors to the bank, where they were stripped of their clothing and given emergency medical assistance, Salcido said.
Police were investigating the possible getaway vehicle, a black Jeep Cherokee without license plates, with keys in the ignition, that was parked behind the bank on San Vicente Boulevard.
Salcido said the two Brinks guards, neither of whom was identified, were being interviewed at Beverly Hills police headquarters.
For a time, the Brinks truck remained at the scene, amid bystanders, police and FBI agents, its driver's door ajar.