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Armed robbery, car chases, gunfire: 2 CA men arrested after multi-city crime spree

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    MODESTO, California (KOVR) — Two Stockton men are in jail in connection to a multi-county robbery spree. Their alleged crimes spanned 40 miles from rural Stanislaus County to San Joaquin County.

“He held [a gun] at me and he said ‘You are going to make me murder you,’ ” said Jennipher Bell.

Those words seared in Bell’s mind after an attacker held her at gunpoint outside of the Hughson Bank of the West.

“You get that flight or fight mode and my dad always taught me to protect myself and I kind of just squared off and was like ’Alright, let’s go,’ ” she said.

Bell had just taken out $300 in cash around 8 p.m. Wednesday night when she says 23-year-old Jeralmiah Johnson started attacking her.

“He hit me with a gun, so we wrestled and tussled across my steering wheel,” she explained.

Bell fought Johnson off for three and half minutes, according to a video captured at the bank. Bell was able to hit Johnson in defense before he ran away.

“Giving up really wasn’t an option because I felt like if I got out of the car, he was going to shoot me,” she said.

Bell said Johnson ran away and got into a nearby car. Police say minutes later, Johnson and 22-year old Rene Farias-Mendez attacked another woman in Ceres at the Dollar Tree and took her purse.

Less than an hour later around 9 p.m., the two allegedly robbed a man at gunpoint in northwest Modesto in front of the victim’s house.

After the robbery, the victim chased after the suspects, who were driving a dark-colored Lincoln Navigator. Minutes later, Modesto police received reports of gunshots being fired from a dark-colored SUV towards another vehicle near the intersection of Sisk and Rumble Road. Investigators say the descriptions matched the suspects.

The chase continued for 30 minutes ending in Stockton with the suspects opening fire again on the same victim. Gunfire hit the victim’s car, but he was not injured.

“This was a disregard for safety and victimizing people in our communities,” said Modesto police spokesperson Sharon Bear.

Bell is counting her blessings and is thankful everyone is safe.

“I’m very lucky and blessed that I had angels watching over me, and it’s God’s will that I’m alive and get to go back to my children,” she said.

The Stockton Police Department located and arrested the suspects. Johnson and Farias-Mendez are both from Stockton. The two have been charged with attempted murder, robbery, conspiracy and felony gun charges.

They were booked into the Stanislaus County jail with bail set at $2,000,000.

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