Before she was taken hostage during a brazen bank robbery this month, Misty Holt-Singh worried about one thing, says a woman inside the bank with her.
“Misty was crying,” Janie Martinez told CNN affiliate KORV. “She was saying her daughter was alone in the car. She said, ‘I don’t want my daughter to see me coming out with you,’ and they said, ‘Don’t worry, nothing is going to happen,’ and they took her anyway.”
The three heavily armed men forced Holt-Singh and two female bank employees into a Ford Expedition and sped away, police in Stockton, California, said. About 50 law enforcement vehicles chased the SUV for an hour during a high-speed gunbattle.
The chase ended with three deaths — two suspects and Holt-Singh, who was used as a human shield, police said. Authorities don’t know if the police or the suspects fired the bullets that killed her.
Martinez, the first victim to talk about the robbery, said she and other customers were inside the bank July 16 when the three armed men entered and demanded money. They tied up a security guard. Holt-Singh’s 12-year-old daughter was sitting in the car in the parking lot.
“They had guns, and it was happening so fast,” Martinez said. “When they found out the police officers were there, they said we’re going to take hostages. They just grabbed Misty.”
Police chased the SUV on surface streets and interstates through Lodi to Acampo, then 20 miles back to Stockton. Gunfire from a semiautomatic “AK-47-type assault rifle” and other weapons struck 14 of the squad cars that gave chase, police said.
The two bank employees either jumped or were pushed out of the SUV and will recover, police said.
When the chase ended, Holt-Singh was dead, along with two suspects, ages 27 and 30. Police said they were members of the Norteños street gang.
Police arrested Jaime Ramos, 19, of Stockton and charged him with murder and other offenses.
Authorities have offered a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of a fourth suspect, KORV reported. Police said they think he dropped off the three men at Stockton’s Bank of the West.