Female Hostage Was Killed During Bank Robbery As Cops Fired 600 'Excessive' Shots, Report Says
The 600 shots that police fired during a bank robbery last year - killing a female hostage - were excessive, a report has said.
On Monday, the Police Foundation released the report that said some officers only fired their weapons during the chaotic shootout in Stockton, California last year because other officers were shooting.
Misty Holt-Singh, a married mother-of-two who was being held hostage by the three bank robbers, was killed by 10 of the bullets officers fired in the July 2014 incident, the report said.
The 41-year-old, who had been at the bank with her young daughter, was being used as a human shield by one of the suspects, Jaime Ramos, when she was shot. The two other suspects were killed.
Ramos has been charged with three counts of murder in addition to robbery, kidnapping, carjacking and gang counts. He has pleaded not guilty.
The report, which had been requested by the Police Foundation, found that a lack of planning was partly to blame for the unnecessary shooting.
"In reviewing dispatch tapes and in response to interviews, the review team determined there was no planned response for when the suspect vehicle stopped," the report concluded.
"This lack of planning, along with the number of officers involved, created a level of chaos that was difficult to manage and overcome."
An attorney for Holt-Singh’s family will be holding a news conference on Tuesday to address the report.
Police Chief Eric Jones said in a statement the department intends to learn everything it can from the report and use it to improve.
"There are elements of this report that are tough for us to read," he said. "But it's important that we be as brave in reviewing this incident as our officers were in responding to it."
Despite the report’s findings, Police Foundation President Jim Bueermann praised Stockton police as heroes in a foreword, saying no other police agency in the country had ever dealt with a similar situation.
It unfolded after the three armed suspects robbed a Bank of the West branch and took three women hostage before fleeing in a bank employee's SUV.
Holt-Singh had been at the bank with her 12-year-old daughter, who then texted her dad: "Leave work. Bank got robbed. They took mom.”
The suspects led police on an hour-long pursuit. The three men allegedly fired around 100 shots from an AK-47, striking more than a dozen police vehicles.
Officers texted their families along the way as some feared they might not survive, according to the report.
The other two female hostages survived. One was shot before she was pushed or jumped out of the vehicle, while the other also managed to jump out.
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