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."

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Rudy Giuliani to join Trump legal team in wake of Michael Cohen criminal investigation

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:23 PM

Then president-elect Donald Trump meets with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the clubhouse of Trump National Golf Club November 20, 2016 in Bedminster, New Jersey. 
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
Then president-elect Donald Trump meets with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the clubhouse of Trump National Golf Club November 20, 2016 in Bedminster, New Jersey. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Former New York mayor and major Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani is joining President Donald Trump’s legal team, according to news reports.

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Giuliani, one of the first and one of the staunchest supporters of Trump’s presidential bid, will be assisting Trump’s legal team with the Russia investigation, according to CNN.

Trump is said to be extremely upset with the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and has called it a “witch hunt” on numerous occasions.

>> Related: Trump not considered a criminal target in Russia probe: report 

Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, confirmed the addition of Giuliani to the team and also announced two former prosecutors, Marty Raskin and Jane Serene Raskin, are joining the team, as well, CNN reported.

The move follows an FBI raid on the home, office, and a hotel room of longtime Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen last week and the revelation that Cohen is under criminal investigation.

>> Related: Mueller indicts 13 Russians, 3 Russian entities in election meddling probe

Deputy Assistant Attorney Gen. Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Mueller investigation, signed off on the Cohen search warrant.

 

 

What You Need To Know: Michael Cohen
 

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Family returning from Disney desperate to find lost teddy bear along I-77

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 7:11 AM

Family Looks For Lost Teddy Bear After Disney World Trip

A family from New York driving home from a trip to Disney World is desperate to find their little girl's teddy bear, and think it may have been lost in the Charlotte area.

The family was driving along Interstate 77 in Rock Hill on April 13 when they think the stuffed animal fell out the window.

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The girl’s mother, Amy Earley, said in a Facebook post that the bear means the world to her. That post has been shared hundreds of times and has dozens of comments.

Earley said her 3-year-old daughter has never gone a day without the bear and is completely heartbroken.

The family went on a Disney vacation in Orlando, and in photographs from the trip, the little girl is seen holding the bear everywhere the family went.

The family stopped in Rock Hill on the way home and stayed at a Comfort Suites. They think the bear may have fallen out the window of their car on I-77 northbound, between the hotel and exit 30 in Davidson.

Earley is pleading for help and has offered a $500 reward.

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School walkouts: What are students’ rights?

Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 3:55 PM

What You Need to Know: ENOUGH National School Walkout

Students, teachers and parents across the U.S. will be taking part in a walkout Wednesday to bring attention to their fight to end gun violence in schools.

ENOUGH National School Walkout” was organized by students working with the Women’s March Youth Empower to call for action on gun control.

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The walkouts are planned on the one-month anniversary of when 17 people were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 

But what rights do students and teachers have when it comes to walkouts? Here are some answers from the American Civil Liberties Union:

1. Can a school punish students for taking part?

The law in most places requires students to go to school, so schools can discipline students for missing class. But students cannot be disciplined more harshly because of the political nature of the message behind their actions. 

Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

The exact punishment a student could face will vary by state, school district and school. 
Most Florida school districts allow students to take part in protests on school grounds as long as it’s peaceful and follows federal, state and local regulations. 

2. What if it turns disruptive?

School officials are allowed to put a stop to a walkout if it becomes disruptive. 

Students cannot block streets or let the walkout escalate to civil disobedience. 

Related: National school walkout: When is it; what will happen

According to the ACLU, what counts as disruptive will vary. A school disagreeing with a student's position or thinking their speech is controversial or in “bad taste” is not enough to qualify.

3. May I distribute leaflets, pamphlets and other literature without a permit?

Students may approach pedestrians on public sidewalks with leaflets, newspapers, petitions and solicitations for donations without a permit, according to the ACLU.

Related: Florida school shooting: What we know about the victims

The organization says these types of activities are legal as long as entrances to buildings are not blocked and passersby are not detained. 

4. Can the school keep students from coming back after a walkout?
Locking out students is essentially the same thing as a suspension, so it depends on whether the school usually issues suspensions for missing class. If getting suspended is not a punishment for an unexcused absence at a particular school, then getting locked out after a walkout at that school is not allowed.

Related: How difficult is it to purchase a gun in Florida?

5. How are a student's rights different at a private school than a public school?
The First Amendment applies to public schools’ actions, but not those of private schools, so there is much less protection for students’ speech at a private school. 

6. Can students be arrested?
As long as no laws are broken, students shouldn’t have to worry about being arrested.

7. What are student's rights on social media? 

A school cannot punish students for content they post off-campus and outside of school hours that does not relate to school.

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'National School Walkout’: Everything you need to know about Friday’s event

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:52 AM

The Worst School Shootings in US History

Thousands of students across the country are set to walk out of class on Friday, the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

More than 2,500 groups have signed up for the “National School Walkout,” a student-led protest aimed at bolstering the discussion about gun-control measures.

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Lane Murdock, a high school sophomore who started a Change.org petition suggesting the walkout, said keeping the momentum of the national “March for Our Lives” movement strong was important to her and that, “Our generation is demanding change and won't be ignored or swept under the rug." 

March for Our Lives grew out of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people died in the Feb. 14 shooting.

Murdock told National Public Radio that the protest is “not conservative or liberal. It is just about making sure our children don't get harmed in school and we don't live in a community and in a country that has institutionalized fear. I think we're all sick of it. That's why we're doing this."

Murdock goes to a Connecticut high school about 20 minutes away from where Sandy Hook Elementary School once stood. The Newtown, Connecticut, school was the site of a mass shooting in 2012 where 26 people – mostly 6- and 7-year-old children – were killed.

Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s National School Walkout.

When is the National School Walkout?

The walkout is set for Friday and starts at 10 a.m.

What is the walkout about?

Students are protesting “congressional, state, and local failures to take action to prevent gun violence,” according to the National School Walkout website. They are asking lawmakers to support:

  • Legislation to strengthen background checks.
  • Legislation to allow family members to request the issuance of a gun violence prevention warrant for those they fear may pose a danger to themselves or others. 
  • Bans on bump stocks.
  • Raising minimum age to 21 to buy an assault rifle like the AR-15.

What will happen?

Students across the country will walk out of their schools at 10 a.m. local time and pause for 13 seconds of silence – one second for everyone killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.

After that, organizers are encouraging students not to go back to school, but to stay out the entire day. They are telling students to hold rallies and letter-writing campaigns or other activities around the day.

How do you participate?

Since organizers are suggesting that students walkout of school for the day, the event is geared more toward high school students. More than 2,500 schools in the United States have registered their intention to participate in the walkout. Not all groups registered are high schools. 

Organizers have compiled a guide with suggestions for activities and a link to resources including legal rights and safety tips.

FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, shooting instructor Frankie McRae demonstrates the grip on an AR-15 rifle fitted with a "bump stock" at his 37 PSR Gun Club in Bunnlevel, N.C. The largest manufacturer of bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like automatic firearms, announced Wednesday, April 18, 2018, that it will stop taking orders and shut down its website next month. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)(Allen G. Breed/AP)

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