STOCKTON, Calif. — A California woman taken hostage during a bank robbery and killed by police in an ensuing shootout begged for her life as she was dragged away by kidnappers, a lawyer for her family said Thursday.
Video footage from the Stockton Bank of the West branch shows Misty Holt-Singh pleading with the men to let her go because she has a family, attorney Greg Bentley said during a news conference.
He called the footage “shocking.”
The 41-year-old mother of two was found dead at the end of the July 16 robbery and kidnapping, which included a wild, running gunbattle between police and the suspects on city streets.
Stockton police have said a preliminary investigation shows Holt-Singh was shot and killed by officers, likely during a final shootout where the lone surviving suspect used her as a human shield.
Bentley said the 600 bullets shot into the suspects’ vehicle were excessive and the ongoing gunbattle put the hostages and citizens in danger. He questioned whether police made mistakes or suffered a communication breakdown.
Police and city officials have been cooperative in the investigation, but not all public-records requests for 911 calls, photographs, video and any other evidence gave been granted, Bentley said.
No lawsuit has been filed, but the Singh family has not ruled out legal action, he said.
Police have defended officers’ actions, saying they were under constant fire and worried the suspects would kidnap other hostages or take over businesses or even a school.
Police Chief Eric Jones said Tuesday that he has asked the non-partisan, Washington, D.C.-based Police Foundation to undertake an outside review of the incident.
Holt-Singh, whose 12-year-old daughter was waiting in a car, was taken hostage along with two bank employees. Officers gave chase when the robbers, armed with three handguns and an AK-47, fled with the women in an SUV owned by one of the employees.
The two employees survived by either jumping or getting thrown from the SUV as it sped through town.
Two of the suspects, identified as Alex Gregory Martinez, 27, and Gilbert Renteria Jr., 30, also died. The surviving suspect, 19-year-old Jaime Rios, has been charged with murder.