STOCKTON -The long-time girlfriend of a slain Stockton bank robbery suspect talked to News10 about Gilbert Renteria. She offered her condolences to the family of hostage Misty Holt-Singh, who died during a shootout between the suspects and police.
"It breaks my heart that they lost, that he lost his wife, that they lost their mother because my kids lost their father, so I can comprehend that, you know," Angelica Tovar said.
Tovar and Renteria had been dating for 11 years. They have two young children together, and a teenager from Tovar's previous relationship.
Tovar said Renteria had gotten into trouble in years past, but he had served his time. She said the man she knew was far different from the documented gang member described by investigators.
"He wasn't like that to me. He wasn't like that with our children. Like he wasn't like, 'oh look at this Norteno,' you know, it wasn't like that," Tovar said. "Like, that's Gilbert. That's my boyfriend. That's your father. I don't even see him like that."
Family friend Alexis Hernandez-Thomas added, "I'm not trying to justify anything they did. It was wrong. In every aspect and way it was wrong. But, I just know that they had hearts. They were loving people."
Since Renteria's death, the hardest part for Tovar has been telling their young children.
"Yesterday, I told my 4-year-old. And he's like, 'but why?' He's like, 'but I protect my daddy.' He's like, 'why is he dead?' I'm like, 'you know, he got in a car accident, but you know he loves you very much,'" Tovar said.
The last few days have been spent wishing she could have stopped him, and wishing he had stopped himself.
"I just don't know what he thought. I heard he was the driver, so I don't know if he even got a chance to think," Tovar said. "I don't know if he was thinking while he was driving. I don't know."
Tovar said she had recently gone back to school to become an EMT and that Renteria would stay home to watch the children while she was taking classes. She had hoped for a chance to start a new life.
"I told him, like with my EMT class, 'I already finished it. I just need to get certified with the National Registry. That's it. We're good, like let's get out of Stockton, like we could just move somewhere, just our family, just us. Let's just go,'" Tovar said. "I just don't know why he just couldn't wait just a little bit longer."