Baby Rescued, Armed Robbery Suspect Dead After Long Hostage Situation In Sacramento

A one-year-old baby is safe and a 26-year-old armed robbery and attempted murder suspect dead following an exhausting 56-hour standoff along Arden Way in Sacramento.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department reports 26-year-old Anthony Alvarez was shot shortly before 7:30pm Friday and one-year-old Michael Pittman, Jr. was successfully rescued and is unharmed.

Sheriff John McGinness called the 56-hour standoff a "successful operation" and said the needs of the public were met while ensuring the safety of the child.

Pittman was transported to an area hospital as a precaution for a routine medical examination, but was uninjured during the hostage situation.

Acting on a tip from the Concord Police Department, investigators approached the Arden Towne Apartments Wednesday before noon after hearing that Alvarez may be visiting family or friends at an apartment unit within the complex.

Investigators spotted Alvarez in the parking lot of the complex, at which point the suspect grabbed the one-year-old son of his cousin and dashed into unit 29, triggering the standoff.

Over the course of the past three days, officers and Alvarez have exchanged gunfire multiple times. Thursday, Alvarez was said to have hit an armored car being used by SWAT officers at least once.

Alvarez, who had been in contact with family members since the start of the standoff, reported he'd received a head injury and a bullet injury to the arm. However, a press release issued by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Friday morning said SWAT officers did not believe Alvarez was hit by gunfire.

The uncle of the baby held hostage says Alvarez was a diagnosed schizophrenic. Law enforcement officials were worried that Alvarez may not have been on his medication and report dialogue between police officers on-scene and Alvarez had not been substantial over the past three days.

Tim Curran with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department reports SWAT officers had been using loud alarms and flash bang devices in an effort to draw Alvarez out of the apartment by making the situation as uncomfortable as possible.

Sacramento's longest standoff in history -- surpassing the deadly "Good Guys" hostage situation from nearly two decades ago -- had not been immune to its share of bizarre events.

A woman was detained by law enforcement officials shortly after 1pm Thursday after she scaled the roof of the apartment building, claiming she wanted to rescue the infant held hostage and read him a poem.

Curran said the unidentified woman would be subjected to a mental health evaluation.

Normally-flourishing businesses along Arden Way were suffering as a result of the hostage situation. Arden Way between Fulton Avenue and Bell Street is closed, which is keeping customers from several restaurants and businesses located along the half-mile stretch from spending cash.

It's unclear when Arden Way would be reopened. McGinness said families would be allowed to return to their apartments as soon as law enforcement could be sure that doing so would not compromise evidence at the crime scene.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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