STOCKTON, Calif. – An indictment unsealed Monday charged two men with murder, kidnapping and other crimes in a violent bank robbery and shootout with police that ended with the deaths of a woman taken hostage and two other suspects.
Jaime Ramos, 20, and Pablo Ruvalcaba, 21, were each charged with three counts of murder in addition to robbery, kidnapping, carjacking and gang counts. Authorities say Ruvalcaba drove Ramos and the two other suspects to the bank.
California law allows murder charges to be filed against anyone involved in a crime in which someone is killed. The indictment also contained 35 counts of attempted murder for each of the officers involved in the shootout.
San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Mark Ott said prosecutors don't expect to decide whether to seek the death penalty against the two defendants until next year.
Police say three armed men entered a Bank of the West branch in Stockton on July 16 and took three women, two bank employees and a customer hostage. A pursuit and shootout followed when the robbers fled with the hostages in an SUV owned by one of the employees.
Authorities said Misty Holt-Singh was killed by police gunfire as Ramos used her as a human shield. The other two women survived after being thrown from the moving vehicle or jumping out.
"This incident has never left our minds, and it is forever imprinted on the hearts of us Stocktonians," city Police Chief Eric Jones said Monday at a news conference.
Authorities arrested Ruvalcaba on Friday in Merced. He had been questioned earlier in the investigation without being charged.
Attorneys for both men were not immediately available for comment.
Authorities identified the two dead suspects as Alex Gregory Martinez, 27, and Gilbert Renteria Jr., 30.
Holt-Singh had a husband and two teenage children.