A Newark woman who flew to Los Angeles and went on a two-day crime spree was shot by police as she drove her vehicle toward officers, authorities said.
Rickita James, 30, and her accomplice, Taleah Johnson, 27, of Philadelphia, were both treated for their injuries and are now facing a number of charges, according to Susan Manheimer, chief of the San Mateo (Calif.) Police Department.
The shooting happened Sept. 28, but police didn’t identify the women until Friday, when they released body camera footage of the incident.
Manheimer said James and Johnson flew from Philadelphia to Los Angeles on Sept. 26, rented a car and stole items from at least 11 locations – mostly Apple Stores – in southern California and in the San Francisco Bay area.
In San Mateo, approximately 20 miles south of San Francisco, police found their rented Chevrolet Malibu illegally parked in a handicapped space at a shopping center.
“The SMPD officer identified the vehicle as suspicious due to it being parked unoccupied with the engine running, having a covered VIN, and a license plate belonging to a Honda out of Anaheim,” Manheimer said in a prepared statement. “The officer requested additional officers to help with the investigation just before the suspects returned to their vehicle.”
After stealing a wallet and using it to buy gift cards at a Macy’s, the women got back in the car and pulled out of the lot with James driving, Manheimer said.
Police attempted to pull the car over, but James kept driving, Manheimer said, noting that the women were seen throwing credit cards out of the window.
Police chased the car into a cul-de-sac. James turned around and attempted to flee, driving toward a police vehicle, Manheimer said.
The body cam footage showed Officer J. Ramirez getting out of his vehicle and firing his gun toward the car approximately a dozen times, striking both women. He then approached the car from behind, as the car reversed toward him. Ramirez then fired toward the car several more times before it came to a stop.
He and several officers could be seen approaching the vehicle as one of the women yelled out, “I’m shot,” Officers lifted James out of the car, put her on the ground and performed CPR.
Both women were taken to a hospital to be treated for their injuries, which authorities did not detail.
James was charged with reckless evading, felon in possession of a stun gun, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, fraudulent use of an access card, identity theft, shoplifting and conspiracy. Johnson was charged with similar offenses related to burglary and shoplifting.
They may face more charges related to their activities leading up to the shooting, Manheimer said.
The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, which is investigating the police-involved shooting, has “deferred consideration” of the charges against the women until the shooting investigation is complete, Manheimer said.
Ramirez was placed on administrative leave until the investigation is over.
To watch the body camera video, click here.