California bank robbery: 600 shots fired by Stockton police 'excessive' - TomoNews
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STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA â The more than 600 shots fired by California police during a bank robbery in Stockton last year were "excessive" and "unnecessary," according to a new report by the not-for-profit Police Foundation.
According to the foundation's report, titled "A Heist Gone Bad," 33 policemen fired more than 600 shots.
The July 16, 2104 episode began when three gunmen robbed a Bank of the West branch in Stockton and took three women hostages before driving off in an SUV to escape.
After police were alerted, an hourlong chase and gun battle ensued, which spanned three counties and 63 miles of highway.
According to the Los Angeles Times, vehicles involved in the chase reached speeds of 120 mph, while officers and gunmen engaged in a running gunbattle. The gunmen fired shots at police vehicles, managing to disable 14 of them, while officers began firing indiscriminately.
The lack of planning and organization and the huge amount of officers involved, transformed the gun battle and chase into chaotic clashes. Two hostages jumped, or were thrown, from the SUV, but managed to survive.
Police eventually managed to shoot out the SUV's tires. Officers started shooting indiscriminately, with some of them opening fire only because other colleagues were shooting in front of them. In the final standoff, one officer lay prone on the ground without shooting while another one standing next to him fired round after round.
"'What's your target?' the prone officer yelled, thinking he was missing something," the report stated. "'The car!' responded the officer," according to the report.
Once the gunbattle ended, the last hostage, 41-year-old Misty Holt-Singh, was found dead in the SUV with 10 police bullets in her body.
The report by the Police Foundation, which aims to help the police to be more effective in doing their job, did not challenge the Stockton Police Department's use of deadly force, but it noted that the police department lacked a response plan for such a complex situation.
None of the officers involved has been disciplined, although many were sent for additional training.
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