SAN JOSE -- City police on Sunday afternoon identified one suspect and a homicide victim who were part of an extraordinarily violent crime spree, car chase and gunbattle this past weekend that also left one officer wounded.
San Jose police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer said Jonathan Wilbanks, a 26-year-old San Jose resident, sustained two non-life-threatening gunshot wounds before being captured after a long chase and gunbattle with police late Friday night. A second suspect remains at large and is probably armed, police said.
Police believe Wilbanks and the other suspect committed four armed robberies before killing Rory Parkpettiford, a 22-year-old San Jose resident, as they attempted to carjack him. His death was the city's 42nd homicide this year.
Dwyer described the mayhem as an old-fashioned shootout.
It began, police said, about 7:40 p.m. Friday when the suspects allegedly robbed a Little Caesar's Pizza restaurant on Story Road in East San Jose. Then, police said, they quickly moved on to rob a gas station on east Capitol Expressway. Traveling south and west, they allegedly held up a Jack in the Box restaurant on Curtner Avenue and then a spa on Bird Avenue.
By then it was almost 9 p.m. and, police said, they were apparently seeking to switch vehicles. So the two men drove to the city's west side, to a 7-Eleven convenience store on South Kiely Avenue at Saratoga Avenue, where they allegedly attempted to steal Parkpettiford's car. Dwyer said the man was sitting in his car when he was shot and killed. Parkpettiford was pronounced dead at the scene.
Several minutes later, a police officer spotted the suspects driving on Interstate 280 near Highway 101 and followed them back to the east side and the intersection of Tully Road and Lanai Avenue. A gunbattle erupted when one of the suspects got of his car, walked to the pursuing officer, who was still in his car, and started shooting. The officer, who police did not identify, was wounded and treated at a hospital before being released.
Another officer arriving at the scene shot and wounded Wilbanks, who reportedly ran back to his car and sped away, crashing into a structure near Reid-Hillview Airport. Police surrounded and captured Wilbanks after he fled into a nearby home. He was booked on suspicion of murder, two counts of attempted murder, four counts of robbery, burglary and auto theft.
The second suspect fled on foot.
By Sunday afternoon, a modest shrine of flowers and candles in memory of Parkpettiford had appeared on the sidewalk outside the 7-Eleven.
San Jose police are asking anyone with information about the incidents to contact Detective Sgt. Craig Storlie at 408-277-5283. Anonymous tips can be left at 408-947-7867 or at www.tipsubmit.com.
Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.