A robbery suspect shot and killed over the weekend by Merced police was identified Tuesday as 27-year-old Kandice Honiker, the Merced County Coroner’s Office reported.
An autopsy was conducted Tuesday, but Deputy Delray Shelton said it was too early in the investigation to comment on the number of times Honiker was shot. Toxicology test results are also pending, he said.
Honiker was shot about 1:30 a.m. Saturday by two Merced police officers in an alley in the 1900 block of V Street.
Police Chief Norman Andrade said Tuesday at a news conference that Honiker was killed after she pointed a loaded 9mm semi-automatic Beretta at a police officer, who then fired in self-defense. Another police officer also fired at Honiker, authorities said. .
Sgt. Scott Skinner said the weapon found on Honiker had four rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber. Efforts to reach Honiker’s family were unsuccessful.
Both officers are on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings. Their names have been withheld pending the completion of the investigation, police said.
Andrade expressed condolences to Honiker’s family even as he defended the officers. “I want to make it clear that the decedent’s decisions created this situation and outcome and that I stand behind our officers’ actions,” he said.
It will be up to the Merced County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether the shooting was justified, officials have said.
Police said Honiker was a suspect in two robberies in Merced in the hours leading up to the shooting. Nathan Jones, 24, a suspected co-conspirator in those robberies, was arrested Saturday and booked at the Merced County Jail.
The first robbery was reported about 7:55 p.m. Friday in an alley near West 11th Street and Martin Luther King Way. Authorities said a man was held up at gunpoint by another man, identified by police as Jones, who took $95 and the victim’s watch, officers said. Police said they believe Honiker was the driver of the getaway vehicle, a silver Ford Mustang.
Later, about 1:20 a.m. Saturday, another man was robbed in an alley outside a bar near West Main Street. The man told police he had been “socializing” with a woman at the bar, believed to be Honiker, and she asked him to walk her to her vehicle. Once outside, police said, the victim was confronted by a man, believed to Jones. The victim was struck on the head with a gun and robbed of his wallet and cellphone, police said.
“Jones then made the victim get undressed and Jones and the female were seen getting into a silver vehicle,” Andrade said.
A short time later, Officer Brian Rinder spotted a silver vehicle and stopped it at the corner of West 19th and O streets, but the vehicle then took off at a “high rate of speed,” police said.
Andrade said the vehicle blew past several stop signs and reached about 70 mph before turning south onto V Street, where it smashed into a curb.
Police said Honiker climbed out of the vehicle, pointed a gun at Rinder, then ran through several backyards. She then ran north along the Bear Creek canal bank and was seen jumping several fences, police said.
Jones was arrested immediately after the car hit the curb.
Police said Honiker fired a round during the foot chase but that it’s unclear if she was firing at the officers.
Skinner said police do not believe any rounds struck a neighborhood home, as one area family claimed.
Police confronted Honiker in a V Street alley where, they said, she pointed the gun at police and was shot and killed.
Two other passengers in the vehicle were questioned, then released. The passengers, whose names have not been released, told police that during the chase Honiker said she was “not going back,” apparently meaning she did not want to go back to jail, police said.
Police described Honiker’s criminal history as “minor” and said Jones has served prison time.
According to Merced Superior Court records, Honiker had four drunken driving convictions dating to 2008. Most recently, she pleaded guilty to a felony DUI with three prior convictions on Feb. 8, 2013. She was ordered to serve 12 months in the county jail and placed on probation for five years, records show.
Jones’ criminal history includes a 2011 robbery conviction. He was sentenced to two years in state prison, court records show.
Investigators said police are looking into the possibility that Jones and Honiker may have been involved in additional robberies.