Family of bank robbery suspect Paul Jones III issues apology
By Shavonne Walker
SALISBURY — Relatives of a man who robbed a Salisbury bank and shot two people last week say they make no excuses for what he did and sincerely apologize to those involved.
The Salisbury Police Department says Paul Jones III, 25, who was raised in Salisbury, went to the Wells Fargo bank on West Jake Alexander Boulevard about 5 p.m. Thursday. While inside the bank, police say, Jones shot Jose Santiago, 61, in the face. Later, he stole a car belonging to Larry Darnell Dalton, 45, who was shot in the head and arm.
Santiago remains in critical but stable condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Dalton is in stable condition at the same Winston-Salem hospital.
Police said Jones took them on a high-speed chase, struck a vehicle in the process and fired gunshots at officers after the crash. Police returned gunfire, hitting Jones, who died at the scene.
Ursula Smith, an aunt of Jones, said the family wants to apologize to the men who were shot, to customers who witnessed the ordeal in the bank, to drivers involved in the accident and to the Police Department for the tragedy of what happened.
Police had to do their job, they said.
Smith said that at a time when people have offered prayers to the Jones family, they ask that others pray for the victims’ families.
Family members who met with a Post reporter on Tuesday said they are sincerely sorry for what happened.
Contrary to earlier reports, they said Jones, known by the nickname “Third,” had not been diagnosed with a mental illness, nor did he exhibit signs of mental illness. They said the person who said Jones was mentally ill was giving her opinion.
The Post reached out to the woman again Tuesday, and she agreed that Jones had not been professionally diagnosed with mental illness. She said he had exhibited concerning behavior in her presence and the family did not know the full extent of his “issues.”
Jones’ relatives said they were as shocked by Thursday’s events as anyone else. They described Jones as well-mannered, soft-spoken and not known for talking about violence or guns. Jones participated in a family gathering the Sunday before the robbery and played football, they said.
They said they are left with unanswered questions as to why he did what he did.
He snapped for some reason, they believe.
Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.
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