Salisbury Police said they fatally shot a man after he shot up a Wells Fargo bank branch, carjacked a vehicle then crashed the car and fired at police Thursday.
The suspect, 25-year-old Paul Jones III of Salisbury, was killed in a gun battle with police after crashing on Jake Alexander Boulevard during a police chase, police said.
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The bank customer, 61-year-old Jose Santiago of Salisbury, was shot in the face and was in “very critical condition” on Friday at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes said.
Jones also shot 45-year-old Larry Darnell Dalton, the driver Jones carjacked, police said. He was thrown from his car and “shots were fired” on Brenner Avenue near the bank, according to the chief. Dalton, shot in the head and arm, was in stable condition at Wake Forest Baptist on Friday, Stokes said.
Another customer, who was paying a bill and cashing a check, told WSOC-TV that she “played dead” after the gunman shot the other customer and then fired at her but missed.
Officers began pursuing the speeding Acura four-door sedan near Lincolnton Road and South Fulton Street. Jones crashed into two cars near the intersection of Jake Alexander Boulevard and Mooresville Road, according to the chief. As police approached the car to arrest the driver, “they fired their weapons to defend themselves,” Stokes said in a four-page statement.
Stokes identified the officers as Sgt. Michael Colvin, a 21-year veteran of the department who supervises its narcotics detectives; patrol Officer Jay Basinger, who has been with the department for 2 ½ years; and K9 Officer Joseph Martinez, who’s been with the department 4 ½ years.
Stokes said he reviewed much of the body camera video from the shooting and it appeared that Jones fired at least one shot at Basinger, who returned fire and sought cover. Colvin and Martinez then fired at Jones, “who had not yet dropped the firearm,” according to Stokes. “All officers fired more than one shot. I do not know at this time which officer may have struck Mr. Jones with their shots.”
The officers removed Jones from the car and administered first aid, Stokes said. Jones “was conscious for a time,” according to the chief. EMS arrived and took over trying to save Jones.
No officer was injured, Stokes said. “I am comfortable saying that all officers, including those who fired their weapons, acted with the utmost bravery and valor,” the chief 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.”
The State Bureau of Investigation will conduct an investigation of the shooting by the officers and present its findings to the Rowan District Attorney’s Office to determine if their actions were lawful, Stokes said. Once that investigation is completed, Salisbury Police will review the case internally to ensure all policy and procedures were followed, he said.