STOCKTON (CBS13) — Three months ago, Misty Holt-Singh died after a routine trip to the Bank of the West to withdraw money for a haircut. Holt-Singh was taken hostage while her 12 year-old daughter waited for her in the car. The Singh family attorney said the family had no idea the neighborhood bank was robbed six times in less than three years.
"The bank did not notify their customers," said attorney Greg Bentley. "There was nothing sent to the family, nothing we believe posted on the windows saying 'We're closing this down, because we've been robbed a lot and it's not safe to come in."
The Bank of the West Corporate headquarters VP of Communications Debra Jack provided this statement:
"The safety and security of our customers and employees is our highest priority. In addition to working with law enforcement, we train our branch employees and evaluate security measures at branch locations to help ensure the safety of our customers and employees. The North Stockton branch was closed as part of a larger strategy and was the result of an extensive review of branch usage trends. Clients were notified three months in advance that their accounts would be transferred to our branch on East Hammer Lane."
The Singh family has seen surveillance video from inside the bank and talked to customers who witnessed Holt-Singh's kidnapping.
"We cannot disclose the contents of it, but I can say the footage is shocking," Bentley said access to the surveillance video came with a confidentiality agreement. "We spoke with bank customers that were in the bank and obtained their statements. What we know is that Misty begged for her life, she begged not to be taken. She advised then that she had a 12 year-old daughter in the car please leave me alone."
Holt-Singh's husband, sister, and brother-in-law were present for a Thursday morning press conference. Paul Singh, Misty's husband, said he's concerned about his daughter, who watched the three gunman take her mother.
"We are struggling," said Paul Singh. "I personally am struggling with this. There's just no normalcy at this time."
The Singh family supports a recent outside investigation into the Stockton Police actions while pursing the suspects, knowing Holt-Singh was still held hostage in the SUV. The Police Foundation in Washington, D.C. is looking at police protocol and whether mistakes were made by Stockton officers.
The family is critical of the amount of police force used: 33 officers firing approximately 600 bullets. Ten of those bullets struck and killed Holt-Singh. The family wants to know which officers pulled the trigger.
"And also whether or not any of the involved officers are going to be prosecuted criminally," said Bentley.
Police Chief Eric Jones said that part of the investigation is up to the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office. Jones said matching the bullet to the officer's gun may not be possible since the force is issued the same firearm.
"It will be challenging, because the make and model is the same and if a bullet is fragmented, it loses the striations that make it identifiable," said Jones.
Bentley said the Singh family's goal is to find answers and improve police protocol. No lawsuit is planned.
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