It was an unsettling scene at a Florida bank on Tuesday. Snipers attached to a SWAT team neutralized a suspect who took people within the bank hostage. According to reports by the local Sheriff of Lee County, Florida, the incident happened at the Fort Myers branch of the Bank of America.
At around 11 am on that Tuesday, Sheriff Carmine Marceno said his office received a distress call about an ongoing robbery with multiple hostages as collateral. During a press statement later that afternoon, Marceno explained that his office dispatched personnel to the scene right after receiving the call.
However, upon arriving at the bank, the man was clearly holding a knife and was holding two people hostage. The suspect also told law enforcement officials that he had a bomb strapped to himself. Of course, no one was willing to call his bluff, so law enforcement stepped back and cleared the area before trying to talk him out of such desperate acts.
When they saw how chaotic the situation was, the Sheriff deployed a SWAT team, drones, and a robotic dog to prevent things from degenerating any further. The Sheriff’s office put all these in place as negotiations were ongoing with the suspect.
During the negotiations, Deputies tried convincing the man to let go of his hostages and come out of the building with his hand up. The law enforcement officials tried as much empathy as possible to stop the suspect from doing any harm to the hostages.
However, after several minutes of negotiations, the suspect started raising his voice at the Deputies standing by. He was clearly agitated, and the hostage seemed to be in danger. So, one of the SWAT snipers shot and killed the suspect.
The two hostages are safe, which Marceno said was the chief priority of his team. Describing what played out during the standoff, Marceno said of the robbery suspect, “He started to put one of the hostages in, like, a headlock, and he had the knife to her throat.”
Law enforcement has since identified the suspect as Sterling Ramon Alavache, a 36-year-old man. Investigations are still ongoing about the inspiration behind the hostage situation. Authorities are equally trying to find out if there is any link between the suspect and the two hostages.
Due to the ongoing investigation, only law enforcement agencies are making statements about the incident. The spokesperson of the Bank of America has refused to provide details on the incident. Instead, they keep directing news correspondents to the local authorities.
News outlets are sure that the local authorities have more details. Some news outlets that arrived at the scene said they were unsure how long the negotiations played out. But Deputies were speaking with Alavache when they arrived at the scene.
The killer sniper is already on administrative leave. According to Marceno, there is nothing suspicious about that, as it is standard protocol in the Sheriff’s office. However, a man named John Sugben told ABC Naples that he was in the bank when the commotion started. However, he left the bank early enough and was not taken hostage.
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