Police Sniper Fatally Shoots Suspected Bank Robber who took two hostages in Florida

Florida, MBS News – In Florida, a SWAT team sniper fatally shot a man suspected of robbing a bank and taking two hostages inside a bustling Bank of America branch. The incident unfolded in a shopping center along US-41, just south of Fort Myers. The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Sterling Ramon Alavache, was holding a knife to the throat of a female hostage when the sniper took action, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities arrived on the scene shortly after 11 a.m. in response to the situation. Law enforcement officers entered the bank and initiated negotiations while customers and employees evacuated the premises. A video from NBC’s local affiliate station WBBH captured the intense moments of negotiation between a deputy and Alavache in the bank’s lobby.

SWAT sniper kills bank robbery suspect

“Quickly we were face to face with a male suspect who was armed with a knife and who also claimed he had a bomb. He had two hostages at this point and we tried to negotiate with him continuously,” Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in a news conference outside the bank Tuesday.

“At one point in the negotiations, he became physical — he put one of the hostages in like a headlock and he had a knife to her throat,” he said.

“When he presented deadly force like that our SWAT team shot and killed the suspect. We were in fear for her life and safety — I’m giving you the details I can, this is a fresh scene.”

To keep an eye on the suspect’s movements, the sheriff’s office deployed a “robodog,” a remote-controlled surveillance gadget, along with drones, as explained by Sheriff Marceno.

Marceno further stated, “I’m pleased to announce that both hostages are now safe.”

Officers outside the Bank of America branch in Fort Meyers on Tuesday

Following the fatal shooting, the SWAT team member responsible for the shot has been put on administrative leave, a standard procedure in incidents resulting in death, according to Marceno.

He expressed his deep pride in the law enforcement officers’ performance that day.

In a Facebook statement, Marceno reflected on the challenging decision his team faced in neutralizing an immediate danger to the public amidst a tense scenario. He expressed his profound relief that neither the victims nor any team members were harmed.

The sheriff’s office revealed the suspect was a well-known convicted felon with a broad criminal history spanning various states, including offenses such as drug trafficking, aggravated assault, and illegal possession of a concealed weapon.

Brett Sands, an employee in the same complex, shared with WBBH that the gravity of the situation became apparent only when police initiated their response, indicating the incident was far more serious than a mere bank robbery threat.

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MBS Staff
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