(USNewsBreak.com) – Bank robberies are among the oldest crimes in the United States, and around 10,000 take place each year. Sometimes, the heists go off smoothly, with the robber escaping without injuring anyone. Other times, the perpetrator takes hostages, and the SWAT team becomes involved in negotiations to rescue the people inside before harm comes to them. A recent bank robbery in Florida ended up in the latter situation, and by the end, the alleged thief lay dead.
A Bank of America branch south of Fort Myers called the police just after 11 a.m. on Tuesday, February 6. When they arrived, the would-be robber, identified as 36-year-old Sterling Ramon Alavache, immediately confronted them. He was holding two people hostage and told law enforcement he had a bomb and a knife. Authorities kept watchful eyes on the scene and brought in specialized tools, including drones and a robotic dog. They tried negotiating with him in the lobby, but Alavache had other plans.
A police sniper shot and killed a suspected bank robber who had taken two people hostage in a busy branch in Florida on Tuesday. https://t.co/JYJsEMKC7V
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 7, 2024
The suspect put one of the victims, a woman, into a headlock and held a knife to her throat. The SWAT team immediately jumped into action, and a sniper took Alavache out. Sheriff Carmine Marceno gave a press conference shortly after and said his team was “in fear for her life and safety,” necessitating the action. He also stated he was “proud to say that both hostages are safe.” Marceno did not reveal where the sniper fired the shot from, but videos from the incident show the bank entirely surrounded by SWAT members.
Officials later revealed the suspect had a extensive criminal history that included aggravated assault, drug infractions, and carrying a concealed firearm.
The department has placed the sniper responsible for neutralizing Alavache on administrative leave pending an investigation into the case. It said it was following the standard procedure for an officer-involved shooting.
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