On this day in 1991, Joe Cole, an American actor, writer, and roadie for Black Flag and Rollins Band, was shot and killed in an armed robbery.
Cole and Henry Rollins had attended a Hole concert at the Whisky a Go Go and were returning to their shared Venice Beach, California, home after having stopped at an all-night grocery store when two armed men—described as black in their 20s—approached them demanding money. Angry that Rollins and Cole had only $50 between them, the gunmen ordered the two men to go inside their house for more cash. Rollins entered at gunpoint. However, Cole was killed outside after being shot in the face at close range while Rollins escaped out the back door and altered the police. It was estimated that Rollins had avoided fatality by a matter of inches.
Joe Cole was the son of actor Dennis Cole by his first wife, Sally Bergeron. Dennis Cole later married to actress Jaclyn Smith (Charlie’s Angels).
Looking back, Rollins had suggested that perhaps the robbers had spotted producer Rick Rubin in his expensive car visiting Rollins in weeks prior, and assumed they were wealthy rock musicians.
Though the case received much media coverage, including a spot on NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries, no one was ever apprehended in the murder. The case remains unsolved. Investigators believe the robbers might still live in the Oakwood area of Venice Beach even after all these years.
Joe Cole is remembered in the Sonic Youth songs “JC” and “100%” on their album Dirty. The Hole album Live Through This is also dedicated to his memory.
• Read also ROBERT SMITH, MARY POOLE, & LOVESONG.