Witness 'played dead' as man robbed bank, police say

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 4:50 PM

Paul Jones III was shot and killed after a bank robbery Thursday, police said. (Photo: WSOCTV.com)
Paul Jones III was shot and killed after a bank robbery Thursday, police said. (Photo: WSOCTV.com)

Police have identified a man who was shot and killed by officers after robbing a Wells Fargo bank in Salisbury on Thursday night.

During a press conference on Friday, authorities identified Paul Jones III, 25, as the robber in the case.

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Police responded to the bank on Jake Alexander Boulevard at approximately 5 p.m. Thursday, around the time the business was supposed to close.

Police said in their preliminary investigation that, during the bank robbery, a customer was shot and the robber then led police on a short chase.

Ramona Little said she was paying a bill and cashing a check when an armed and masked man stormed in and robbed the Wells Fargo Bank.

"I was just hysterical, had my hands up like this,” Little said.

Little said after the armed robber took a bag of money, he asked her and another customer for their car keys while threatening to kill them.

Little said the gunman shot a customer at the bank, and he fell back. Then, the robber shot at Little, who said she dropped and played dead.

"He said, 'Give me your keys,'" Little said. "You know, I'm scared, so I'm back, and back me and Jose. So he shot Jose. He falls. Then he shoots at me and I just fall back like I'm dead, too."

She said playing dead may have saved her life.

Little said she is still shaken up, but is relieved the robber is no longer a threat.

"I pray for him because I don't know who he is and I just hate that he couldn't think and take a moment just to say, ‘This is not worth my life,’” Little said.

On Friday, police identified the man who was shot as 61-year-old Jose Santiago. Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes said that Santiago was shot in the face by Jones.

After the shooting, Stokes said, Jones carjacked and shot Larry Darnell Dalton, 45, and drove off in Dalton’s 2015 Acura sedan.

"Apparently, the suspect exited the bank and took control of the vehicle and fled the scene,” Stokes said.

Police said officers spotted the car and chased Jones.

According to police, Jones then crashed into two vehicles.

Stokes said officers approached the car and that Jones fired at one of the officers. 

Stokes said officers fired back in defense and killed Jones. He called the officers' actions "controlled and not excessive."

“In my initial review of the information we have at this point, I am comfortable saying that all officers, including those who fired their weapons, acted with the utmost bravery and valor,” Stokes said. “They clearly saved other people’s lives yesterday. We don’t know what led Mr. Jones to commit these evil acts and we don’t know what else he could have done had the officers not been able to locate him fleeing the area.”

Jessica Barnhardt, on her last day at her job, had stepped outside to smoke a cigarette when she heard the gunshots.

"Then you heard, 'Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam,'” Barnhardt said. "I'm just thankful today is my last day."

Barnhardt said she saw officers surround the car and fire shots at the robber.

She said it sounded as if the first two shots came from inside the car, but then she saw police surround the car and fire the next series of shots.

"You heard the cops shooting back, like, six or 10 shots. I mean, plenty of shots, to kill someone,” Barnhardt said. "Everybody out here in front of our parking lot was hiding behind cars. There is people outside yelling at other people to get down and people ducking. It was pretty chaotic for a little bit."

Barnhardt said she saw one of the officers standing at the driver’s side window of the car.

"He was, like, up in the car, shooting inside of it," she said.

Stokes said three officers -- Sgt. Michael Colvin, Officer Jay Basinger and Officer Joseph Martinez -- fired their weapons at Jones.

Stokes said he reviewed body camera footage from the shooting and said that Jones fired at least one shot and possibly more at Basinger.

Basinger fired back and looked for cover, Stokes said, and Colvin and Martinez then shot at Jones.

Stokes said it is not yet known which officer hit Jones with their shots. No officers were injured during the shooting.

After Jones was shot, Stokes said, officers removed him from the car and administered first aid. Stokes said Jones was conscious for a time, but he died shortly after emergency medical services arrived on at the scene.

The bank customer who was shot, Santiago, is in “very critical condition,” according to Stokes.

Stokes said Dalton, the carjacking victim, is in stable condition after being shot in the head and arm by Jones.

Officials said both Santiago and Dalton are patients at Baptist Hospital after being flown from Rowan Regional Medical Center on Thursday.

The FBI and State Bureau of Investigation are assisting the Salisbury Police Department with the investigation of the bank robbery, the officer-involved shooting and other possible crimes committed by Jones.

Stokes said the three officers who fired their weapons have been placed on limited duty, per standard procedure.

“I am saddened by the events of yesterday,” Stokes said. “No officer wants to take a life, and the violence has no doubt affected our community sense of safety."

3-month-old girl exposed to heroin, taken to hospital

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 10:17 PM

Crystal Cumberland. (Photo: WPXI.com)
Crystal Cumberland. (Photo: WPXI.com)

Police arrested a woman after they say she exposed her baby to fentanyl.

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But she told investigators that's not the drug she thought she was using.

The baby had to be flown to Children's Hospital from Uniontown.

Crystal Cumberland is in jail and facing charges including aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

According to Pennsylvania State Police in Fayette County, in November, the baby girl had to be given several doses of Narcan to revive her.

At the time, investigators thought the baby overdosed on heroin, but according to a criminal complaint, Cumberland "admitted to hospital staff to snorting a white powder to get high, which exposed the infant to fentanyl that was sold as heroin." 

Children left in freezing car while mother talked to friends in mall, police say

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 5:39 PM

Mother Talked To Friends In Mall While Children Left In Freezing Car

After getting calls about mothers leaving their kids in freezing temperatures, police are warning parents not to leave their children in their vehicles.

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A mother left her two young children in a car as she spoke with friends for more than 45 minutes, according to WXIN

Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer Stephen Jones found an 11-year-old girl clutching her 2-year-old brother inside a Toyota Corolla around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Castleton Square Mall. The outside temperature was 8 degrees at the time, according to WXIN

The girl told Jones she had the keys to the car but had turned it off. Jones asked her to turn on the car. 

Jones went into the mall and found the 29-year-old mother speaking with a group of her friends in front of a store. She was very apologetic. 

Jones filed a report with the Department of Child Services and warned the woman to never leave her children alone again, according to WISH

Hours earlier, police had also responded to a call that a woman left her son, 4, and daughter, 7, in a car in freezing temperatures for more than an hour, according to WISH.

Dog mauls 4-year-old girl, police say

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 9:14 PM

A 4-year-old girl was airlifted to the hospital Thursday after being mauled by a dog. (Photo: WFTV.com)
A 4-year-old girl was airlifted to the hospital Thursday after being mauled by a dog. (Photo: WFTV.com)

A 4-year-old girl is recovering at a local hospital after she was mauled by a family friend’s dog, police said. 

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The attack happened Thursday afternoon at the Meadows Mobile Home Park in Melbourne, police said.

Police said the girl's mother dropped the girl off to be watched by a family friend and another woman. The family friend left and the child was being watched by the other woman when the mixed-breed dog attacked the girl, police said.

The woman was able to grab the girl and run out of the house, where she screamed for help, police said. The dog kept trying to get through the door when a neighbor grabbed the child and called 911, police said. 

"I just picked her up and ran like hell with her. I told my wife, 'Call 911, we got an emergency.' That's before I even saw her wounds," neighbor Richard Hansen said. "I saw her trying to keep the door shut, so I ran over there and she said the dog attacked her."

It’s unclear why the dog attacked the child, police said.

The child had injuries to her neck, back and leg, but she will recover, police said. The woman also has not-life-threatening injuries. 

"The little girl kept saying, 'Bad dog, bad dog,'" Hansen said.

Animal services has captured the dog, as well as three other dogs, but it’s unclear what will happen to the animals.

Police said they don't anticipate filing any criminal charges against the dog owners and said they were cooperative.

Is Boston parking space worth $45,000?

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 8:46 PM

A parking space is on the market for $45,000. (Photo: Boston25News.com)
A parking space is on the market for $45,000. (Photo: Boston25News.com)

A piece of real estate about the size of a coffin comes with a drop-dead price in Brookline. 

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It’s nearly $45,000 for a parking spot, but snow removal is extra.

Realtor.com shows the spot, off Addington Road, hit the market in November for $15,000 more than it costs now. 

In Brookline, parking is at a premium. But the spot isn’t even premium parking. For one thing, you're at risk of getting sideswiped and there's a tree stump that makes getting out of the passenger seat a little difficult. 

To be fair, the listing does not promise voluminous, capacious or anything of the sort. 

Though it may be in a "sought after location," the property description also advises it is "suitable for compact car only." 

“It seems like a lot of money, but it's not unreasonable for a parking space in Brookline,” The Presti Group’s Gina Dirocco said.

Dirocco says there's a good reason why, in Brookline, this humble pad of asphalt could fetch such a seemingly outrageous price. 

“Most towns around here will let you park overnight nine months out of the year. All the months except the winter. Brookline, however, does not offer parking any time of the year. Ever,” she explained. 

With a low-enough interest rate, it's even possible slot number 12 could wind up costing less per month than a rented space. 

Still, what might make good economic sense in the long run might not feel, to some, like good common sense in the short term. 

It’s been on the market for a while and still hasn’t sold.