STOCKTON, Calif., Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Police in Northern California have revealed that a hostage killed during a failed July bank robbery was killed by police gunfire when one of the suspects allegedly used her as a human shield.
On July 16, at least three men armed with semi-automatic rifles attempted to rob a Bank of the West in Stockton, igniting an hour-long gun fight and car chase that left three people dead.
Two of the deceased were suspects in the robbery, but the third, Misty Holt-Singh, was a hostage taken from the bank and used as a human shield.
"We wanted but never had the opportunity for hostage negotiations," Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said in a press conference Monday. Jones said over 600 bullets were fired during the robbery and ensuing chase.
"The assailants were violent and attempted killing officers very early on."
Jones said the lone surviving suspect, Jamie Ramos, is only alive because used Holt-Singh to shield himself from police gunfire.
"That is consistent with the cowardice act by the surviving and uninjured assailant as using her as a shield."
In honor of Holt-Singh's memory, Jones said the department vows to review its hostage and combat procedures.