Fleeing bank robbers in Stockton, Calif., fired AK-47-style rifles at police and threw two hostages from a speeding SUV in a high-speed chase and shootout that left two suspects and one hostage dead and left bullet holes in 14 police cars and an unknown number of homes. A witness tells KCRA that the chase started after suspects left a Bank of America branch with rifles held to the heads of three terrified women as police looked on. "These poor women, they were screaming, they were so distraught, so scared," the witness says. The chase lasted around 45 minutes, and a witness says the shootout after the stolen SUV became disabled at an intersection "sounded like five minutes of straight gunfire."
Both of the hostages who were thrown from the vehicle have been hospitalized with gunshot wounds. After the shootout ended, police found one suspect and one hostage dead inside the SUV. A second suspect died later in the hospital and a third suspect is in the hospital with gunshot wounds. The city's chief of police says the dead hostage was a bank customer used as a human shield during the shootout, the AP reports. "In my 18 years here I've never seen this level of violence," a police spokesman tells the San Francisco Chronicle. "There was just a complete disregard for human life."