On July 16, 2014, 41-year old Misty Holt-Singh left her 12-year old daughter in the car while she made a quick transaction at a branch of Bank of the West. She had no idea what was about to happen. Three suspects entered the bank with guns drawn. They tied up a security guard and took an undisclosed amount of cash from the vault. Then, they grabbed two bank employees and Misty, fleeing in a Ford Expedition that was owned by a bank employee.
Police from the Stockton Police Department, responded to the robbery and for the next hour, pursued the Ford Expedition.
The three suspects, Alex Gregory Martinez, 27; Gilbert Renteria Jr., 30; and Jaime Ramos,19; were pursued by officers of the Stockton Police Department, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol. The three hostages were with them. In the shoot-out that occurred, one hostage was wounded. The wounded hostage and another were tossed out of the vehicle.
Two of the suspects, Martinez and Renteria, were killed. However, it is said that Ramos used Misty as a human shield.
According to preliminary ballistics report, Misty was shot at least 10 times by the police. Ramos has been charged with 3 counts of murder, (his 2 co-robbers and Misty); 22 counts of attempted murder of police officers; car theft; robbery and kidnapping.
Defending the actions of the officers, Stockton police Chief Eric Jones said at a news conference that Misty’s wounds “show the cowardice” of Ramos. He stated that the suspects fired on the officers first with a semiautomatic rifle, and that they had no choice but to return fire.
Chief Jones provided no details about the exact location of Misty’s wounds but did confirm that Misty was killed by bullets shot by officers. Thirty-three officers fired their weapons. At least 20 of them have been placed on administrative leave.
Hundreds of bullet holes were found in various places, including police vehicles, citizens’ cars, homes and businesses along the route through Stockton and neighboring communities.
Attorney Gregory Bentley is representing Misty’s family. He stated that the manner in which Misty’s life was taken raises serious questions and concerns. “The family is hopeful, however, that the promised information, policies and procedures concerning the events of July 16 will be provided so that a fair, complete, and transparent investigation can take place.”
Call me jaded, but it appears that Police Chief Eric Jones has already decided that the officers were justified.
On September 27th, Misty’s family and friends gathered to celebrate her life, with more than 100 golfers teeing off to raise money for her family. Misty’s son, Paul Jr., is helping his sister cope with the shock. She waited in the car outside the bank the entire time.
“You know they say it gets easier with time, but it is not it doesn’t. My heart is broken. I am empty. I am trying to be strong for the kids and the family, but I have my moments. I have my moments,” said Paul Singh, Misty’s husband.
Our condolences to the Singh family. Justice for Misty.
Helicopter video for when police opened fire:
Chief Jones speaks: