Man wanted in robberies barricades himself inside Sacramento apartment with 1-year-old

By Robin Hindery, AP
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Armed man in Sacramento holds 1-year-old hostage

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A standoff between deputies and an armed suspect who has barricaded himself inside an apartment with a 1-year-old boy stretched into its second day Thursday, with authorities concerned about the child’s welfare.

Deputies exchanged gunfire with armed robbery suspect Anthony Alvarez in the pre-dawn hours, sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Curran said.

There were no apparent injuries in the exchange, but the 25-year-old Alvarez damaged a robot sent in to probe the area, authorities said.

Deputies reported taking a single shot at Alvarez and missing later in the morning. Since then, authorities have been trying to communicate with him.

Deputies were worried about the baby, who is the son of the suspect’s cousin.

“The child’s safety and welfare has always been our No. 1 priority, and his presence has dictated our tactical response,” Curran said. “The longer this goes, the threat to the child increases.”

He said an officer who was positioned in the apartment complex’s inner courtyard Thursday afternoon saw Alvarez through a window carrying the child, who appeared to be fine.

Alvarez’s sister Tessa told The Sacramento Bee her brother suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Curran said he could not confirm the conditions.

San Francisco police want to speak with Alvarez about his possible involvement in a homicide, Curran said.

Authorities were trying to re-establish contact Thursday with Alvarez by using a bullhorn. They offered him the use of a cell phone, asked him to hold up the boy so they could see if he was OK and pleaded for him to surrender.

About two dozen law enforcement vehicles, including trucks from the Special Weapons and Tactics team, filled the courtyard of the evacuated apartment complex. Yellow police tape kept onlookers away, and evacuated residents gathered in a nearby church.

Police went to the complex in an unincorporated part of Sacramento County on Wednesday to arrest Alvarez for investigation of three armed robberies in the San Francisco Bay area and for firing at an officer in Concord last Friday.

When they arrived, Alvarez grabbed the child and barricaded himself inside the apartment, Curran said.

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