The violent and deadly shootout following a North Stockton bank robbery last week drew hundreds of police officers from throughout San Joaquin County.
And when the gunmen disabled the Stockton Police Department’s only armored personnel carrier during the rolling gun battle, Manteca Police dispatched its mine-resistant ambush protected tactical vehicle – a 25-ton behemoth that was designed to withstand improvised explosive device blasts in Iraq and Afghanistan – to assist in apprehending the suspects.
The exchange ended before the responding Manteca officers could arrive.
On Monday the lone surviving suspect – 19-year-old Stockton resident Jamie Ramos – appeared in San Joaquin County Superior Court and was charged with three counts of murder and 22 counts of attempted murder in the deaths of his two accomplices and a 41-year-old hostage. Misty Holt-Singh was the last of the three hostages taken from the Bank of the West branch at the corner of Hammer Lane and Thornton Road, and authorities believe that Ramos used her as a human shield during a fierce gun battle that was caught at least partially on amateur video and included hundreds of shots.
Her 12-year-old daughter was waiting in the car in the parking lot when the three men – Ramos, 27-year-old Alex Gregory Martinez and 30-year-old Gilbert Renteria Jr. – took her and two bank employees out of the bank and into a blue Ford Explorer belonging to one of the hostages. The two bank staffers either jumped or were thrown out along the route and are expected to survive. Whether Holt-Singh was killed by her captors or during the exchange with police will likely be determined through ballistics testing and an extended investigation.
Of the 35 felony counts against Ramos, 22 of them will be for every one of the shots that were fired in the direction of officers during the chase. While vehicles and houses were hit – multiple handguns and an AK-47-style assault rifle were recovered – nobody in pursuit vehicles were struck. He could be eligible for the death penalty.
By Friday afternoon, Stockton Police officials ended up having to place 20 officers on paid administrative leave because they had fired their weapons in the line of duty. A total of 15 police vehicles – 14 patrol cars and the city’s SWAT unit – were damaged during the chase.
It wasn’t the first time since Manteca took control of the former military vehicle – which were built to combat the rising threat of roadside bombs in the Middle East and were never deployed overseas, eventually being declared “surplus” by the Department of Defense with military presence in the region winding down – dispatched the unit.
Acquired to replace an aging armored transport-style vehicle, the hulking machine is jointly utilized by both the Manteca and Ripon Police Departments.