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Bank customer among 3 dead in holdup and shootout

Police: Gang Members Led Pursuit After Robbery


STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) - Misty Holt-Singh had just popped into the bank, leaving her 12-year-old daughter in the car, when the horror began. An hour later, the mother of two lay dead in the street after a bank robbery spun into a chaotic police chase and furious gunbattle in which two holdup men were also killed.

Holt-Singh was shot to death as one of the robbers hid behind her, using her as a shield against police gunfire, authorities said.

Whose bullets killed Holt-Singh is unclear, but police said the ultimate responsibility rests with the three bank robbers, who authorities said weren't just after cash - they wanted to kill people.

"In my over two decades of law enforcement, I have never seen or experienced this type of total disregard for human life nor the intensity of the situation that our officers were faced with. It is very rare for bank robbers to take hostages. It is very rare for them to so heavily arm themselves and prepare to kill and then to actively and continually to try to kill our police officers," Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said Thursday.

Police and FBI agents were sorting through hundreds of bullet holes in 14 police cars, an armored vehicle, citizens' cars, homes and businesses - the litter left behind by the drama Wednesday that began when the gunmen held up a Bank of the West branch in Stockton and took three women hostage as they made their getaway.

It ended in a hail of gunfire after police shot out the tires of the getaway vehicle.

During the hour-long chase through this city about 80 miles east of San Francisco, two of the hostages, both bank employees, jumped or were thrown from the stolen SUV, one of them while it may have been going more than 50 mph. At least one suffered a gunshot wound. Both were expected to survive.

The only surviving suspect was identified Thursday as Jaime Ramos, 19, of Stockton, who wasn't injured. Police said the other robbers, ages 27 and 30, were gang members, also from Stockton.

Police said that they recovered at least three handguns and an assault rifle and that the gunmen had ammunition strapped to their bodies.

"The firing never stopped," Jones said. "They were trying to kill (the officers), no doubt."

The bank branch was locked and empty Thursday. A note in the window said the closing was temporary and due to an emergency. Another note said the branch was set to close for good on Friday and move to another location.

Somebody had placed two bundles of flowers outside the front door with a handwritten note to "Misty." ''Today you were so brave. You died in a haze of bullets, on a lovely afternoon," the unsigned note said. "We all will look after Paul and the kids. You will be sadly missed."

Holt-Singh's Facebook page became a memorial as friends, family and strangers paid tribute to the 41-year-old woman, who had close ties in the community and had been married to Paul Singh for 14 years.

At the website for the dentist's office where she worked as a treatment coordinator, she described how she loved her family.

"I enjoy watching my kids play softball and swimming," said her bio. "In my free time I love to coach my kids in softball, snowboarding, and traveling to different countries."

Witness Jose Maldonado, who said he saw the robbers taking the women out of the bank, said the men had rifles slung over their shoulders and 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.

During the holdup, the robbers also tied up a security guard. The amount taken was not disclosed.

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patriot1too July 17 2014 at 7:35 AM

Yes once again we see latino mexican and black thugs commiting yet more crimes in America. Too much political correctness and pandering to them has caused America to fall into a cess pool of moral decay and the dumbing down of our youth with liberal extremisist propaganda.

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45 replies
patric9956 July 17 2014 at 7:23 AM

If these robbers were white or US citizens you can bet the AOL/Huffpost cabal would have said so. By omitting this information you can draw your own conclusion as to ethnicity or legality of their status. It would be quite inconvenient with the current contrived border crisis to identify these criminals as Central American gang members.

Flag Reply +73 rate up
7 replies
thorrsman July 17 2014 at 6:39 AM

Once again we see that the toughest gun laws do absolutely nothing to stop criminals from getting firearms illegally.

California gun laws do not allow "AK-47 style" rifles, yet these bank robbers had them and were not merely willing, but eager to use them.

The remaining bank robber should be charged with the death not only of the hostage but his two companions as well, making certain that he at least never leave prison again, if the death penalty is not imposed.

THAT is what stops criminals, not laws that restrict only those willing to obey the law.

Flag Reply +66 rate up
24 replies
jurmik July 17 2014 at 7:44 AM

The USA is worried about every war going on in the world, but ignore the ones going on in their own backyards.

Flag Reply +57 rate up
4 replies
plewdawg July 17 2014 at 7:35 AM

CA has an assault rifle ban, yet they had them
CA has a clip ammo band, yet they had them.
These suspects are not conservative
These suspects are not NRA
These suspects ARE a minority, either black or Hispanic.

Flag Reply +55 rate up
5 replies
cshae89546 July 17 2014 at 9:04 AM

Another great example of why gun control is totally worthless. Get a clue! Criminals have no regar for the rule of law, like the people in Washington, D.C. they make their own rules.

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5 replies
jay love July 17 2014 at 6:41 AM

just shows to go ya that California's outragious laws and ban's on guns just because of how they look, features and ammo capacity are not worth a damn! only blocks the lawful citizen from owning or buying one of these "AK-47 style" rifles as it was stated in the article. while most every other decent state in country its legal to buy and own the semi-auto type AK's as well as AR platform rifle. and that is all these guns are is another semi-auto rifle people own for collection, target, hunting, etc.... in this case its shown criminal's still found ways to buy, or steal the guns and the honest, law abiding decent people of Calif. are prohibited from owning, or buying. these anti-gun laws only work against the bad guys!

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7 replies
Sparky5229 July 17 2014 at 7:10 AM

ok what color were they white ,black, brown ,and yes it does matter

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16 replies
Doug July 17 2014 at 7:49 AM

How extremely sad the bank customer was killed in the cross fire. Glad one peiece of crap robber-killer was killed. On the same day a California judge ruled California's death penalty unconstitional. Hope it gets overturned. Knowing liberal California it won't. Sad day for justice.

Flag Reply +41 rate up
5 replies
socraticknight July 17 2014 at 5:42 AM

too bad I didn't get to see the gun battle in person. I pick up loads in stockton, and eat at a few restaurants there as well. with the once "largest city in the US to file for bankruptcy" still recovering from economic disaster, truckers have told me to not leave my big rig during rest breaks, because of the potential for mugging at night. the city has become less safe and truckers tend to pick up or deliver loads in bad areas. the same has been said for detroit for years, before it eventually went bankrupt. when costs have to be cut from city budgets, agencies like police are the first to give pink slips to workers to save money.

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4 replies
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