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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."

Suspect named in Pennsylvania police officer's shooting death

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 3:54 AM
Updated: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 11:57 AM

Rahmael Sal Holt
New Kensington police
Rahmael Sal Holt(New Kensington police)

Here’s what we know about the fatal shooting of a New Kensington, Pennsylvania, police officer:

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Lena Dunham slammed for defending 'Girls' producer accused of rape

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 7:29 AM

Lena Dunham (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
Lena Dunham (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)(Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Social media users are slamming actress and “Girls” creator Lena Dunham after she defended one of the show’s producers, Murray Miller, following allegations that he raped a teen actress, Page Six reports.

>> On Rare.us: Lena Dunham responds to backlash after she announced she had to give up her dog, Lamby

“Life comes at you fast @lenadunham,” S.E. Cupp tweeted with a screenshot of one of Dunham's previous tweets, which reads, “Things women lie about: what they ate for lunch. Things women don’t lie about: rape,” side by side with her defense of Miller.

After actress Aurora Perrineau accused Miller of raping her when she was 17, Dunham and co-showrunner Jenni Konner responded in a joint statement, saying, “While our first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year. It is a true shame to add to that number, as outside of Hollywood women still struggle to be believed. We stand by Murray and this is all we’ll be saying about this issue.”

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Dunham continued her thoughts on Twitter, later writing, “I believe in a lot of things but the first tenet of my politics is to hold up the people who have held me up, who have filled my world with love.”

However, that was also met with the ire and mocking from users:

In her statement, Perinea, now 23, claimed she woke up in Miller’s bed after consuming alcohol with him at a hotel, and he was “having sexual intercourse with me.” On Friday, she filed a police report in regard to the incident. Miller has since “categorically and vehemently” denied the allegation.

Venus Williams' Florida home burglarized, $400,000 in goods stolen during U.S. Open

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 2:31 AM

Venus Williams – Fast Facts

The Florida residence tennis star Venus Williams calls home was burglarized as she played in the U.S. Open in September, according to a Palm Beach Gardens police report released Thursday.

>> Watch the news report here

Though what was taken from the home at BallenIsles Country Club is redacted from the report, police indicate more than $400,000 worth of items were taken from the residence.

>> Serena Williams shares wedding photos in new interview

Palm Beach Gardens police indicate in the report that the last time the items were known to be in the home was Sept. 1, the day Williams’s sister, Serena, gave birth to her first daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

That was the same day Williams beat Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari in the U.S. Open in New York. Williams made it to the semifinals where she lost to U.S. player Sloane Stephens in three sets on Sept. 7.

The burglary was reported on Sept. 5, according to the report.

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This is not the first time this year Williams has been part of a Palm Beach Gardens police report. On June 9, Williams collided with Linda and Jerome Barson at an intersection near her home. Jerome Barson died weeks later from complication of blunt traumatic injuries.

Williams was not charged in the crash, but Barson’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against her.

Heroin dealer convicted of manslaughter after buyer fatally overdoses 

Published: Saturday, November 18, 2017 @ 11:44 PM

April Thomas Guthrie, 34, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a man died from heroin she sold him. (Photo: Carteret County Sheriff's Office)
April Thomas Guthrie, 34, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a man died from heroin she sold him. (Photo: Carteret County Sheriff's Office)

A drug dealer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after selling heroin to a man who later died of an overdose from the opioid. 

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April Thomas Guthrie, 34, was also convicted of delivery of heroin and was sentenced to three to five years, according to WNCT

Kendal Walbert died of a heroin overdose in August 2014 after buying heroin from Thomas and co-defendant Michael Becker, who testified at the trial, according to WCTI.

Guthrie told deputies the heroin was strong, that two people overdosed on it and that she did twice as well, according to WNCT

Guthrie is already in jail after being convicted of sale of heroin and cocaine in 2015. Her latest sentence begins when that one ends in September 2018.