Stockon police were looking Friday for the driver of a black sedan seen on video dropping off suspects in a deadly bank robbery and police chase across three cities, authorities said.
News of the search came hours after a spokesman for the family of the lone hostage killed in the dramatic chase said they would seek police records, including dispatch logs and video.
Attorney Michael Platt, a spokesman for the family of Misty Jean Singh, made no reference to potential litigation against Stockton police or the other agencies involved. But he said the way Singh was killed should be examined.
Singh, 42, was slain sometime during multiple shootouts involving two Norteño gang members, an alleged gang associate and law enforcement.
Stockton police Chief Eric Jones said at a news conference that it was unclear who shot Singh and when she died. Two other hostages who were employees at the bank were wounded but were ejected from the getaway car and survived.
Only one of the alleged robbers – Jaime Ramos, 19, of Stockton – survived. The two other gunmen, Gilbert Renteria Jr., 30, and Alex Gregory Martinez, 27, both of Stockton, were shot to death by police in a dramatic final standoff.
Four guns, including an AK-47-style assault rifle, and many magazines were recovered in the car. Authorities believe Ramos used Singh as a human shield during the shootout.
Even though the men took Singh as a hostage, her family asked the public to respect the privacy of the gunmen’s families, too.
“Even though my sister was the victim of a terrible crime, there are other people who have lost someone they love, too,” said Singh’s older sister, Dawn Holt.
Singh’s husband, Paul Singh, said what happened to his wife was a “nightmare.”
“She was the most caring, loving mother and wife,” said Singh, 45. “She would never do for her, it was always for us.”
The family described her as the “rock” of the household, who always chewed ice and never forgot to take orange juice to her 12-year-old daughter Mia’s softball games.
The family’s attorney said they wanted police, the media and witnesses to save any video from Wednesday’s chase to aid a “full, open and transparent investigation.”
Hundreds of shots were fired during the chase, and 14 police cars and several civilian vehicles and homes were riddled with bullets. More than 20 officers discharged their weapons.
Officials said the three men walked into a Bank of the West branch after 2 p.m., wearing hooded sweatshirts and sunglasses, tied up a security guard and robbed the vault at gunpoint.
As they left, they encountered police and used the three women as human shields during their escape.
Witnesses told investigators that one of the women – a bank manager – volunteered as a hostage. It was her car that was used in the police chase.
Though the violence seen in Stockton is rare in bank robberies, using hostages and a victim’s car was apparently this crew’s method of operation, Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Himelblau said.
Police said the men did not have a car waiting for their escape, and investigators found evidence indicating the men had committed similar robberies before.
“At first, we thought it was a circumstantial issue,” Himelblau said of the men using hostages. “There’s a hint of it ... we’re getting a good feeling that they might have done this before, and in those cases, hostages were taken.”
Prosecutors are expected to charge Ramos on Monday with murder, robbery, kidnapping and attempted murder, among other counts.
A fund has been set up in Stockton to help Singh’s family.