Man wanted in robberies barricades himself inside Sacramento apartment with 15-month-oldBy Robin Hindery, AP
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Armed man holds 15-month-old hostage in Sacramento
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A standoff between deputies and an armed man who has barricaded himself inside an apartment with a 15-month-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, 25, in the pre-dawn hours, sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Curran said. They reported taking a single shot at the man and missing later in the morning.
Around 4:30 p.m., Alvarez fired one shot during a crew shift, suggesting the standoff could continue into the evening. The bullet struck an armored police truck.
No law enforcement personnel were injured. Alvarez has been in contact with his mother and told her he was wounded in the arm by a bullet and sustained a head wound during the standoff, Curran said. No other details about his injuries were known.
Family members are worried about the baby, Michael Pittman, who is the son of the suspect’s cousin, said Patrick Tobin of Brisbane, another one of Alvarez’s cousins. Police have said the child is age 1, but Tobin said he is 15 months.
“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.”
Curran 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.
Tobin, whose sister is the child’s mother, said Alvarez suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He said his family believes the standoff is the result of Alvarez being off his medication.
Tobin said Alvarez had been staying at the apartment with Tobin’s sister and her husband, and the pair were being questioned by police for allegedly harboring a fugitive.
The standoff began around midday Wednesday after police went to the complex in an unincorporated part of Sacramento County to arrest Alvarez for investigation of three armed robberies in the San Francisco Bay area and for allegedly firing at an officer in Concord last Friday.
Curran said San Francisco police also want to speak with Alvarez about his possible involvement in a homicide.
When authorities arrived at the complex, Alvarez grabbed the child and barricaded himself inside the apartment, Curran said. Tobin said the parents were able to get Michael’s 4-year-old brother out of the apartment before the standoff began.
The complex was evacuated, and the Red Cross set up a relief shelter for residents at a nearby church.
Alvarez has since been communicating by cell phone with his mother, who is cooperating with police. Authorities tried to establish direct contact with him Thursday using a bullhorn. They asked him to hold up the boy so they could see if he was OK, and pleaded for him to surrender. Alvarez did not respond.
About two dozen law enforcement vehicles, including trucks from a Special Weapons and Tactics team, filled the courtyard. Yellow police tape kept onlookers away.
Tags: California, Hostage Situations, North America, Sacramento, San Francisco, Theft, United States, Violent Crime