|Bank robbers kill a hostage in a gang style shootout with police.|
A group of bank robbers kidnap three women and started violently firing upon the Stockton Police. The police opened fired and killed two robbers and one hostage. The surviving robber who barely over 18 is facing capital charges for his role. He survived using the hostage as a shield.
The situation was overshadowed by the tragic plane crash by MH 17 by militants in Ukraine.
This happened on Wednesday afternoon and I was going to post this one earlier. But this tragedy in the air had overshadowed the events.
We here at Journal de la Reyna send our condolences to the family of Misty Holt-Singh. We also send our condolences to those lost in the Malaysian Airlines MH 17 plane crash in Ukraine.
Here's what happened in Stockton.
The Associated Press reports that the violence began at 2 p.m. when officers responded to a call of a robbery at a Bank of the West branch in north Stockton. Arriving officers spotted three men taking three female hostages from the bank at gunpoint. The robbers stole a bank employee's SUV and led officers on the pursuit, Stockton police Officer Joe Silva said.
|Misty Holt-Singh with her husband Paul. Upon hearing his wife was killed in a police shootout, he was devastated. The mother of two was a victim of circumstance. Three bank robbers kidnapped her and two other women and held them as hostages. The police ended two of these robber's lives and Misty was killed in the crossfire.|
The pursuit continued as the suspects fired with AK-47 style rifles from the SUV. Fourteen police cars and an unknown number of homes along the robbers' path were peppered with gunshots, Police Chief Eric Jones told a news conference late Wednesday.
In the drama that unfolded Wednesday afternoon, the suspects entered the Bank of the West branch wearing hooded sweatshirts and sunglasses and with guns drawn, San Joaquin County Chief Deputy District Attorney Ronald Freitas said. They tied up a security guard, took over the bank and went to the vault to get money, he said.
"It was such a chaotic ... fluid situation, really one of the most dangerous, tense situations that a police officer could go through," Jones said.
"There was a lot on the line and the officers responded appropriately," he said.
|This dickhead gangbanger Jaime Ramos used a hostage as a shield to protect himself from a hail of police gunfire.|
"The firing never stopped," Jones said, noting that the suspects had ammunition strapped to their bodies. "They were trying to kill (the officers), no doubt."
When it was all over, the third hostage was found dead in the SUV and one of the robbers was also dead. The police chief said the hostage was a bank customer, and that she appears to have been used by the suspects as a shield during the shootout.
Misty Holt-Singh planned to be gone for just a few minutes when she stepped into her local bank. Instead, she became the victim of three robbers who had gone there, too, planning to take both money and hostages.
As her 12-year-old daughter sat waiting in the car, Holt-Singh and a pair of bank employees were forced into a stolen SUV at gunpoint just as police converged on the parking lot. What followed was a chaotic, hour-long chase through this Northern California city that ended with a furious gun battle. When it was over, the 41-year-old mother of two was dead in the back of the vehicle.
Police said that a suspect, the only one of the three to survive, used her as a human shield as the bullets flew back and forth. An autopsy may determine whether the one that killed Holt-Singh was fired by officers or the robbers.
Police said the other two suspects were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds, and one of them later died.
The surviving suspect was conscious, Jones said.
Jaime Ramos, 19, of Stockton, who wasn't injured. He will be facing bank robbery, attempted murder, and assault on an officer. The possibility of being tried for murder is possible seeing that a hostage died. These charges could carry life in the iron college if not the gas chamber.
Police said the other robbers, ages 27 and 30, were gang members, also from Stockton. Ramos was scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, and Freitas said prosecutors anticipate charging him with murder and special circumstances including kidnapping, robbery and burglary that could make him eligible for the death penalty.
Police said that they recovered at least three handguns and an assault rifle and that the gunmen had ammunition strapped to their bodies.
The police chief said 20 officers who fired their weapons were put on administrative leave pending an investigation — standard procedure after a shooting. He said he believes the officers acted appropriately.
Witnesses said the shootout that brought the episode to a close looked like a war.
|There were causalities in this shootout in California.|
Jose Maldonado, who said he saw the robbers taking the women out of the bank, said the men had rifles that looked like AK-47s slung over their shoulders and they didn't seem to care that there were police all around.
"They were not afraid. They weren't going to take no for an answer. These poor women, they were screaming, they were so distraught, so scared," Maldonado said.
Jones said the robbers also tied up a bank security guard.
The bank said in a statement that it would not provide information about the victims.
"This is a tragic incident and we are focused on supporting our customers and employees," the statement said.
Be warned the videos you may see will contain graphic violence.