STOCKTON (CBS/AP) — The suspects who robbed a Stockton bank and took three people hostage also intended to kill people in a running gun battle with police, according to the city’s police chief.
Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said at a news conference on Thursday he arrived at that conclusion based on the “havoc” the men created.
Police say the suspects took the three women hostage on Wednesday afternoon as they made their getaway and waged a ferocious, high-speed gun battle with officers.
The getaway vehicle was eventually disabled, and police and the suspects got into a shootout.
One of the hostages and two suspects died. Jones said the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Jaime Ramos, appears to have used one of the hostages as a shield.
Ramos of Stockton was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on homicide, kidnapping, robbery and attempted murder charges, according to police.
Police say the two dead suspects are alleged gang members, 27 and 30 years old, are also from Stockton.
Police have not released the identity of the hostage who was killed. Friends and family have identified her as Misty Holt-Singh. They said she was a wife and mother.
The robbery happened before 3 p.m. at a Bank of the West near Hammer Lane and Pacific Avenue where three women were taken hostage by three suspects. The suspects left in the bank manager’s blue Ford Explorer with the hostages.
“Three guys had three guns and three hostages, and they had the guns to the hostages’ heads. And they were petrified,” witness Jose Maldonado said.
Police said the suspects opened fire with semi-automatic weapons while officers chased them over several highways including Interstate 5. Witnesses said the scene was like a war zone.
“It was more than 100 shots,” Maldonado said.
“During the entire pursuit, police officers were constantly fired upon by the assailants with high-powered assault rifles,” said Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones.
Officer Joe Silva said one of the hostages was shot during the pursuit and was either thrown or jumped out of the vehicle. A second hostage was thrown from the vehicle when the pursuit came to an end in the middle of a street. Officers tending to her found she had suffered a grazing bullet wound
The pursuit ended around 3:40 p.m. near Thornton Road and Otto Drive when a barrage of shots were fired. At that point, police said there was no movement in the suspect vehicle following the shooting.
“They were trying to kill (the officers), no doubt,” Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said in a late-night news conference.
A hostage and one of the suspects died at the scene.
“It also preliminarily appears that one of the gunmen used the third and final hostage, the bank customer from earlier, as a shield,” Jones said.
No officers were injured in the incident.
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