Mistaken identity: Universal City police seeking white male suspect storm black woman's car

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by Amanda Stanzilis / KENS 5

kens5.com

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Updated Friday, May 28 at 7:14 AM

Universal City police call it an unfortunate coincidence.

Police had been searching for Cody Ring, 20, on suspicion of aggravated robbery and home invasion. He was deemed dangerous by police.

Police were told Ring would be showing up at the Villages of Kitty Hawk apartment complex on Sunday afternoon and parking at Building 15.

Police were given a 10-minute window that Ring in which expected to arrive. He was expected to be driving a silver colored Chevy HHR.

At that time, Tiffaney Wilson drove up in her silver Chevy HHR, and parked in her spot at Building 18. Police officers immediately surrounded the car with their guns drawn and started screaming at Wilson to put her hands up.

Wilson says she was panicking because she didn't know what was going on and she had her three children in the car with her.

Police got Wilson's door open and saw the children in the back seat. They realized they had the wrong car, put their guns away and left the area.

But Wilson says police should have known immediately she was not the suspect. The suspect is a white male. Wilson is a black female.

Minutes later, police say, Ring showed up in a darker silver Chevy HHR. Police arrested him without incident.

Police apologized to Wilson for the mix-up, but she says it doesn't feel like enough. She wants police to be retrained on approaching suspects.

"I think they could have done a lot better. It could have been me or my kids' lives," Wilson said.

Universal City Assistant Police Chief Bill Gabbard explained what happened.

"We were doing our job. We were relying on the information we had to get this violent criminal off the streets," he said. "What a coincidence with these two vehicles going to the same location within the same timeframe. I don't know how to apologize for that or to make it better. We would not change what we did."

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