A Vallejo Police is killed after he chases a suspect, following a bank robbery
Vallejo police said this morning only one suspect robbed a Bank of America and fatally shot Officer Jim Capoot after a vehicle and foot pursuit Thursday.
The suspect has been identified as Henry Albert Smith Jr., 38, of Fairfield. He has been booked on charges of murder and bank robbery.
The Vallejo Times Herald was first to report that the officer died. NBC Bay Area Cheryl Hurd confirmed the news. Hurd said the officer was shot several times while running after a man who had just abandoned an SUV after crashing. She said the officer was a 20 year veteran of the force who lived in Vallejo.
During a 6:30 p.m. news conference, Vallejo police identified the officer as James Capoot. They said Capoot was a highly decorated and beloved member of thier small police force. He was a high school girls basketball coach and a former U.S. Marine Corp veteran. He leaves behind a wife and three daughters.
"We're a small police department...we're a tight family," Vallejo police spokesman Jeff Bassett said. "There's nobody in the police department who was not affected by this."
The shooting happened following the bank robbery and chase. The chase ended after a maneuver that successfully stopped the car in question, according to Bassett.
After police had Smith in custody, they originally thought a second suspect may still be on the loose, but a massive manhunt in a Vallejo neighborhood went forward until they confirmed there wasn't a second suspect.
Police scaled back the search of the neighborhood around 6:30 p.m. "We scaled back, but we haven't ruled out that there may be another suspect involved," Bassett said.
According to the CHP, the Bank of America branch on Springs Road in Vallejo was robbed at 1:36 p.m. Capoot located a car that matched the description of the getaway vehicle and gave chase.
That chase ended three to four miles away on the 100 block of Janice Street where the suspects fled on foot.
Our helicopter over the scene showed a large police presence on the small residential street.
A light-colored SUV with damage near its right front passenger doorr was parked diagonally in the street with its back hatch open near the intersection of Janice and Taper Street. Police circle the vehicle with yellow crime tape. It was later towed away.
A police car was also damaged after landing on some nearby shrubbery.
The CHP helicopter joined television helicopters above the scene in an effort to find the suspect or suspects police were looking for.
Armed officers could be seen canvassing the area in search of someon
e. Officers even used ladders to get on rooftops. Police in formation marched on Janice Street in an organized search for hours Thursday afternoon.
NBC Bay Area reported that both money and Halloween masks were found in the SUV the suspects drove.
The last officer who was killed in the line of duty in Vallejo was Jeff Azuar. He was shot and killed in April 2000 while trying to arrest a suspect on an outstanding warrant.
Before 7 p.m. there as a solemn procession outside the hospital where Capoot died. His flagged draped body was wheeled outside as many officers in uniform watched. It was loaded into a Coroner van and taken to the Coroner's office. The van was followed by dozens of police cars from across the Bay Area.
The Vallejo Police Officer’s Association has set up a memorial fund on for Officer James Capoot’s wife and three daughters. These funds will be used to establish a trust fund in the family’s name and an account has been opened with Bank of the West’s Vallejo branch. Donations to Officer Capoot’s memorial fund can be made as follows:
Officer James Capoot Family Trust
C/O Vallejo Police Officer’s Association
(Sergeant Mark Nicol)
P.O. Box 4218
Vallejo, Ca. 94590