Saturday, April 18, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Testimony reveals details of bank heist, shooting that left officer dead

smith henry prob, 11/27/12

Henry A. Smith Jr., right, the suspect in the Nov. 17, 2011 killing of Vallejo Police Officer James Capoot and robbery of a Bank of America, listens to testimony in his probable cause hearing Tuesday morning in Solano County Superior Court in Fairfield. Asking questions is Smith's attorney Oscar Bobrow, left, while a security officer from the Solano County Sheriff's Office looks on. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | November 28, 2012 |

FAIRFIELD — The family of slain Vallejo police officer Jim Capoot sat silently Tuesday through the first day of a two-day probable cause hearing for Capoot’s accused killer.

Capoot, a 19-year veteran officer, was fatally shot on the afternoon of Nov. 17, 2011, while pursuing a suspect who had robbed a Bank of America several minutes earlier. A Fairfield man, Henry A. Smith Jr., was arrested by Vallejo police shortly after the shooting.

Smith, a 39-year-old ex-con, has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors have not said whether they intend to pursue the death penalty against Smith. In addition to a murder charge, Smith faces special-circumstance allegations including lying in wait and killing a police officer to avoid arrest, which make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

The first witness prosecutor Karen Jensen brought to the witness stand was the bank teller who was confronted at her teller window by a masked man wearing sunglasses who shielded his face with a bag and who set another bag on the counter and demanded money. She triggered an alarm as the bank robber started walking toward the bank’s exit with around $3,000.

A bank customer, Nabil Saleh, who had been standing in line behind the robber, followed the robber out of the bank. Saleh followed the robber as he crossed through a nearby shopping center and watched him get into a Chevrolet Yukon Denali. Saleh, in his van, started tailing the robber, who drove to the freeway and headed toward Sacramento.

The Denali exited the freeway and Saleh stayed behind it until Capoot pulled up in his patrol car alongside Saleh, who pointed to the Denali. Capoot pulled up behind the Denali, turned on his lights and sirens, spurring a high-speed chase.

Officer Peppino Messina testified he had been parked in his patrol car as he heard the start of the pursuit on the radio. A few seconds later, he saw the Denali and Capoot coming toward him and said he briefly looked Smith directly in his eyes as he sped past before Messina joined the chase.

Messina followed the Denali and Capoot through Vallejo before Capoot deliberately rammed the Denali on Janice Street. Smith jumped from the damaged SUV and started running. Messina said he watched Capoot chase after Smith as both men hurdled a fence into a backyard, where three shots rang out seconds later.

Messina made it into the backyard and discovered Capoot lying face down, hands tucked under his body. His Taser had been drawn and fired and his sidearm, still holstered, had been struck by a gunshot that jammed the weapon.

Capoot had been shot once. The bullet entered his lower back, tore through his spine and liver, punched through his heart and exited the middle of his chest, according to the doctor who performed the autopsy on Capoot. The bullet lodged between Capoot’s body armor and his chest.

Messina rolled Capoot over and heard his dying moans as the growing wail of police sirens filled the air.

Several other Vallejo police officers described what they did after hearing the urgent shouts on their radios of “shots fired” followed by “officer down.”

Officer Alan Caragan said he was the first officer to spot Smith after the shooting. Caragan said he watched Smith climb over a backyard fence down the block from the shooting scene and start walking toward the street.

Lt. Abel Tenorio and Lt. Lee Horton also spotted Smith, who they said stood out as he walked casually across a scene of growing chaos. When they tried to catch up to Smith, they said he started trotting and then began running.

Smith made it to the front door of a nearby home where he pulled open a screen door and started pounding on the front door, shouting out, “Let me in the police are going to kill me.”

Horton pulled at Smith and another officer took him to the ground and handcuffed him.

A loaded Glock .40 caliber pistol was found in Smith’s pants pocket, according to police testimony. A search of nearby yards turned up a black jacket and shoulder holster dumped into a garbage can in the yard adjacent to the shooting scene.

The day of testimony ended with Officer William Badour saying the distinctively patterned blue jeans and shoes Smith was wearing when he was arrested were similar to the pants and shoes worn by the bank robber that was recorded by bank surveillance cameras.

The hearing is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the courtroom of Judge Peter B. Foor.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Correction: This version corrects a city reference in the eighth paragraph.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • FF64November 28, 2012 - 4:21 pm

    There's no jury and he's in custody. Why is he in personal clothing? Hence the need to deploy extra security.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Child care program helps teen parents, students

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
Wood students entertain guests at Epcot

By Susan Hiland And Susan Winlow | From Page: A2

 
 
 
Solano County Science Fair continues to grow

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Take stock of where you are now, and act

By Murray Bass | From Page: B8

 
Fairfield police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Weather for Saturday, April 18, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Family awarded rights to rare coins

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Dog flu outbreak sweeps across the Midwest

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
AG announces anti-bias training program

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
 
Iraqi officials believe Saddam’s top deputy killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Germany mourns citizens lost in plane crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Following Alps crash, debate over pilotless planes heats up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Time for meaningful financial reform

By Paul A. Volcker | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
 
.

Living

Today in history: Saturday, April 18, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 18, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My daughter is upset that I didn’t attend my former in-law’s funeral

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
Horoscopes: April 18, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

Idea from Adam Sandler film used to soothe dementia patients

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

.

Sports

Armijo nears girls soccer title with 2-0 MEL win

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
SCAC girls roll past MEL 55-28 in All-Star hoops game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

SCAC boys slip past MEL in entertaining All-Star game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Athletics fall to Royals 6-4 in rematch of AL wild-card game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Warriors, Pelicans enter series with different pedigrees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Prep softball: Seldon powers Rodriguez to victory over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

JC baseball: Falcons win as Pavlovsky, Evans homer

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Prep badminton: Mustangs roll to 15-0 win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Prep baseball: Haney hurls Vanden to 3-2 win over Benicia

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Rockhold hopes win over Machida launches him into contention

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Martina Hingis to make singles comeback in Fed Cup match

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Injured Giants fan throws out first ball in San Jose

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Flyers fire head coach Craig Berube after 2 seasons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hornets GM Cho: Stephenson ‘didn’t work like we expected’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Brazil eyes historic medal haul in 2016 Rio Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
2 weeks before Mayweather-Pacquiao, not a ticket to be seen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Big Ten’s Delany lays out plan for freshman ineligibility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Collmenter shuts down Giants, gets three hits in D-backs win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Merritt’s 61 trumps Masters champion Spieth’s 62

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

2 minor league baseball teams to test game with 5-pitch rule

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NBA could alter schedule, but no change to playoffs, lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Coonan stepping down as Santa Clara’s athletic director

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel says he “let down” fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers fullback Miller at home in Georgia after March arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Before ruling out an upset in NBA East, listen to these guys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Western Conference teams face perilous path to NBA Finals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
This date in sports history for April 18

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Back on the USA Network: Sports return with NHL playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Frederick’s of Hollywood reveals closing of retail stores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Don’t plan to line up for Apple Watch next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Glaxo recalls flu vaccine due to potency problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 4 Comments

California home prices hit new 7-year high, sales rebound

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Douglas Craig Sparks

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7