Stockton soft­ball com­plex named for Misty Holt-Singh

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Roger Phillips

STOCKTON — For Paul Singh, Satur­day morn­ing was one more op­por­tu­nity to move for­ward five years af­ter a day that shat­tered his fam­ily and shook the city.

The cer­e­mony had just ended, the “Misty HoltSingh Me­mo­rial Soft­ball Com­plex” sign had been un­veiled by her chil­dren and Paul Singh now had a mo­ment to think about all that has hap­pened since the in­fa­mous Bank of the West rob­bery took place July 16, 2014.

“For me, ev­ery day there’s a lit­tle more clo­sure,” Singh said.

“There will never be com­plete clo­sure. But ev­ery day gets a lit­tle closer.”

On the day that changed every­thing, Holt-Singh, a 41-year-old mother of two, was about to leave a Bank of the West branch in north Stockton when armed rob­bers ar­rived and forced her back in­side.

The men, af­ter get­ting money, took HoltSingh and two bank em­ploy­ees as hostages, forc­ing them into a get­away ve­hi­cle. An hour­long pur­suit en­sued. At its end, Holt-Singh and two of the rob­bers were killed when po­lice of­fi­cers opened fire on the get­away ve­hi­cle.

Misty Holt-Singh was a soft­ball player and a soft­ball mom, so ded­i­cat­ing the city­owned com­plex at McNair High School in her mem­ory was a log­i­cal honor.

Paul and Misty’s chil­dren, Paul Jr. and Mia, were among the speak­ers at Satur­day’s event, which was at­tended by lo­cal elected of­fi­cials and Po­lice Chief Eric Jones. Also watch­ing the cer­e­mony were girls on the other side of the back­stop pre­par­ing for games later in the morn­ing.

“Stand­ing here, I know that she is right be­side me,” Mia, now 17, said of her late mother. “There will al­ways be a part of her watch­ing over this com­plex and watch­ing over me.” Paul Jr., 24, also spoke.

“As we move for­ward and leave this sign here and go on,” he said, “re­mem­ber that we as a com­mu­nity were able to come to­gether.”

Greg Bent­ley, the at­tor­ney who rep­re­sented the fam­ily fol­low­ing the tragedy, served as the mas­ter of cer­e­monies at Satur­day’s event.

The Singh fam­ily ac­cepted a $5.75 mil­lion set­tle­ment from the city one year ago, and a condition of the agree­ment was that a street or park be named af­ter Holt-Singh.

The soft­ball com­plex is not the only pub­lic com­mem­o­ra­tion of her.

The Misty Holt-Singh Me­mo­rial Score­board was ded­i­cated at the North­ern Lit­tle League fa­cil­ity in 2015, and a me­mo­rial golf tour­na­ment also is named in her mem­ory.

In 2015, Misty’s 44-year-old sis­ter, Dawn Holt, raised funds to place a me­mo­rial bench at Thorn­ton Road and Otto Drive, the scene of the Bank of the West shootout.

Dawn Holt, dy­ing of can­cer, was too ill to at­tend the ded­i­ca­tion of the bench, which took place on the one-year an­niver­sary of her sis­ter’s death. Dawn died 12 days later.

On Satur­day, Paul Singh was the last to ad­dress the au­di­ence. Turn­ing to face the soft­ball field, he thanked the com­mu­nity.

“You guys,” he said, “have gone through this jour­ney with me and my fam­ily.”

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