STOCKTON, Calif. (KGO) --A 19-year-old Stockton man was charged Monday with three counts of murder in the deaths of a hostage and two alleged accomplices, and 22 counts of attempted murder of police officers in a bank robbery and shootout.
A judge read a total of 35 felony counts to defendant Jaime Ramos involving the robbery on Wednesday at a Bank of the West in Stockton.
Ramos sat quietly in court holding a copy of the criminal complaint and nodded his head when San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Franklin Stephenson asked if he understood his rights. Ramos faces charges with gang enhancements which may make him eligible for life in prison without parole or the death penalty. The list of charges included 22 counts of attempted murder of police officers involved in the pursuit and additional counts for a dozen homes struck by bullets.
"It doesn't really matter who did an act, as long as you're part of the group as a whole," Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau said.
Police are still searching for a driver in connection to the bank robbery after they recovered a dark Buick sedan which was allegedly used to drop off the suspects.
Police say that three men armed with handguns and an AK-47 entered the Bank of the West branch and took three women hostage, two bank employees and a customer. The robbers fled with the hostages in one of the employee's SUV.
Two women were injured but survived after being thrown from the moving vehicle or jumping out. Police say Misty Holt-Singh, a mother of two, was used as a human shield and died. She leaves behind a husband and two children, 12 and 19. It was unclear when she was shot or by whom, but police found her dead in the SUV at the end of the ordeal.
The two slain bank robbers have been identified as 27-year-old Alex Gregory Martinez and 30-year-old Gilbert Renteria Jr. Police believe the alleged gang members may have committed other bank robberies.
The deputy district attorney says this crime is the latest in a string of worsening gang-related incidents in Stockton."The fact that it was this brazen, it doesn't all surprise me, I'm just waiting for it to happen," Himelblau said.
The judge appointed Ramos a public defender and ordered him back to court on August 18. He remains in jail without bail.
The Stockton Crime Stoppers are offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the driver of that dark Buick sedan.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.