The streets near the state Capitol emptied Monday after a man barricaded himself in his parked car near the building for more than two hours, prompting fears of a possible bomb attack.
Sacramento police and the California Highway Patrol cordoned off several city blocks as SWAT officers and hostage negotiators attempted to make contact with the man, who had scrawled “cops or criminals” and “I just want justice” on his Mazda sedan and plastered the car windows with paper signs.
He voluntarily surrendered without incident just over two hours after police were called to the scene at 1:47 p.m. The Sacramento Bee identified the man as Edgar Napoles-Rodriguez, 27, of Sacramento, though the suspect’s name has not yet been released by officials.
According to court records, the former roommate of Napoles-Rodriguez was granted a temporary restraining order against him last week. The roommate alleged in a legal filing with the Sacramento County Superior Court that Napoles-Rodriguez threatened her with a baseball bat and also threatened to burn down her house.
FOR THE RECORD
April 20, 11 a.m.: An earlier version of this post referred to Edgar Napoles-Rodriguez’s female former roommate as a man. It also misstated Napoles-Rodriguez’s age as 28; he is 27.
Law enforcement snipers were spotted on the roof of the Capitol during the standoff. A police robot was used when officers attempted to contact the suspect in his car, which was parked on L Street directly in front of the Capitol building. Before surrendering, the man exited the car and began shouting, “Want to shoot me? Shoot me!”
“He may have not had the best of intentions or be the clearest of mind,” said Officer Matthew McPhail, spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department.
The Capitol was not evacuated during the incident, but one entrance was closed.
The Assembly adjourned early Monday but was scheduled to vote on several big issues, including a ban on smoking on college campuses. It wrapped up the meeting abruptly before 3 p.m.
The Senate went through its full agenda as planned and wished Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Rafael) a happy birthday before adjourning after 3 p.m. without any announcement of the security situation going on outside the building.
Asked about the situation, Claire Conlon, a spokeswoman for the Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said, “It’s our policy not to discuss Capitol security details.”
The state Capitol’s security has been ramped up considerably over the last decade.
The most significant incident came late on the night of Jan. 16, 2001, when a big-rig truck smashed into the south side of the historic building during a late-night legislative session on California’s energy crisis. The driver, a 37-year-old man with a history of prison time and mental health issues, slammed his tractor-trailer into the granite portico of the building, and it erupted in flames.
That, plus the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., that fall, sparked a slow but steady move toward increased security around the 142-year-old building.
Now, the perimeter is surrounded by barricades that rise up from the sidewalk, and all public visitors are routed through metal detectors and bag-scanning areas on the north and south sides of the building.
Times staff writers Liam Dillon and Patrick McGreevy contributed to this report.
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