3 dead after California bank robbery, gunbattle

By From page A4 | July 17, 2014

STOCKTON — Cars and houses were riddled with bullets during a high-speed chase and hostages were thrown from a fleeing SUV after a bank robbery Wednesday that led to the deaths of a hostage and two robbers, police said.

The violence began at 2 p.m. when officers responded to a call of a robbery at a Bank of the West branch in north Stockton. Arriving officers spotted three men taking three female hostages from the bank at gunpoint. The robbers stole a bank employee’s SUV and led officers on the pursuit, Stockton police Officer Joe Silva said.

During the chase that lasted 45 minutes and spanned several miles, one of the hostages was thrown from the SUV and was taken to a hospital with a gunshot wound, Silva said. The pursuit continued as the suspects fired with AK-47 style rifles from the SUV.

Fourteen police cars and an unknown number of homes along the robbers’ path were peppered with gunshots, Police Chief Eric Jones told a news conference late Wednesday.

“It was such a chaotic … fluid situation, really one of the most dangerous, tense situations that a police officer could go through,” Jones said.

“There was a lot on the line and the officers responded appropriately,” he said.

A second hostage was later thrown from the vehicle, and officers tending to her found she had suffered a grazing bullet wound, Silva said.

When the SUV became disabled at a street intersection, officers exchanged a barrage of gunfire with someone inside the vehicle.

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

When it was all over, the third hostage was found dead in the SUV and one of the robbers was also dead. The police chief said the hostage was a bank customer, and that she appears to have been used by the suspects as a shield during the shootout.

Police said the other two suspects were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds, and one of them later died.

The surviving suspect was conscious, Jones said.

Witnesses said the shootout that brought the episode to a close looked like a war.

“It sounded like five minutes of straight gunfire,” witness Sam York told KCRA-TV. “It seemed like it wasn’t real.”

Jose Maldonado, who said he saw the robbers taking the women out of the bank, said the men had rifles that looked like AK-47s slung over their shoulders and they 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.

Jones said the robbers also tied up a bank security guard.

The bank said in a statement that it would not provide information about the victims.

“This is a tragic incident and we are focused on supporting our customers and employees,” the statement said.


The Associated Press

The Associated Press


Discussion | 7 comments

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  • PatriotJuly 17, 2014 - 5:33 am

    Since there is no more death penalty I guess we will house the surviving POS until some liberal governor rules he didn't have a father figure and he will be set free. I pray for the families of the hostages. These scrumbags can burn in hell!

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  • 2realJuly 17, 2014 - 5:56 am

    Wow this is crazy! So the police probly killed the hostage?

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  • clancyJuly 17, 2014 - 1:38 pm

    Does anyone know if the robbers were american citizens?

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  • CD BrooksJuly 17, 2014 - 6:26 pm

    Textbook example of crime going ignored and gangs running amok. There has been a terrible lapse in enforcement so a total disregard for authority has followed. This is wide-open in-your-face old school street warfare. Terrorism right here in good old US of A and it is getting worse daily. You don't happen to see anyone from the Middle East popping into help eradicate them do you? Do you see ANY of our allies stepping up with reinforcements? UH-UH. But we are still "over there" trying to get rid of theirs. The balance needs to change and change quickly and no point being nice about it. Bring in the artillery, the drones and handle this mess with prejudice.

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  • Mr. SmithJuly 17, 2014 - 6:44 pm

    CD is right on! This is pure, unadulterated bull spit! It needs to stop right now, and whatever it takes to wipe out these effing gangs needs to be brought to bear--national guard, you name it. Nortenos, surrenos and every other kind of "enos" are public enemy number one in every city until they are gone from our streets. And for those asshats on here and the media who are wanting to know if the hostage was killed by the police and which officer actually did it if it was a police round--shut your face! This had to be stopped asap in order to save even more lives. Those animals intended to die and wanted to take as many innocent people with them as possible. Yes, it is tragic that a hostage was killed. RIP. But whatever happened to her, blame it on the effing gangbanger/terrorists. Not the police.

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  • clancyJuly 17, 2014 - 8:07 pm

    Well.. The next generations of these thugs are coming over the border in record numbers right now and no one seems to care enough to stop it. In fact it seems line some Of you commenting here seem to be all for in your posts in the other srtuvkes today.. I don't get it.

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  • clancyJuly 17, 2014 - 8:17 pm

    In the other articles today.

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