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Man In Downtown Standoff Surrenders


April 19 Update: Authorities Release Identity Of Suspect In Capitol Standoff

A busy street in front of the Capitol building turned into a parking lot for fire engines, police cars and an armored SWAT truck for most of Monday afternoon.

At 1:45 p.m., a gray Mazda had stopped, facing the Capitol, with a man who police said “barricaded himself inside.”

“All the windows were taped up so you couldn’t see inside,” said Danny Merkley of the California Farm Bureau, who was walking to a meeting. “The windows had signs on ‘em that looked like it was anti-police officers, anti-cop type stuff and then there was writing on the car itself, too, to that effect.”

The car had rags, or a maybe a wire, running from the gas tank to the trunk and a smiley face drawn on the bumper. Police worried the car could try to make a getaway.

CHP evacuated a few offices on the north side of the Capitol and lawmakers called an early end to their day. Ultimately, a man in a tanktop opened the door and put his hands in the air to be arrested. Bomb squad robots then rooted through the car, pulling out strings of paper flags and a tennis racket.

-Ben Bradford / Capital Public Radio

Update 9:24 p.m. L Street has been re-opened after today's standoff. The Sacramento Police Department says the area is now safe for pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Update 8:16 p.m. A bomb squad is currently working to render safe a "suspicious device" found in the vehicle of a man who was taken into custody after a police standoff near the state Capitol this afternoon.

The man barricaded himself in his car for two hours before emerging. The Sacramento Police Department says closures will remain in place in the area until the vehicle is safely removed.

Update 5:30 p.m. Sacramento police have arrested a man who drew a large police response to the California state Capitol this afternoon. He parked a suspicious car across three lanes of traffic on a street adjacent to the Capitol. The man initially refused to respond to police but eventually emerged from the car after two hours.

Capital Public Radio’s Ben Bradford is at the scene and says two police robots are searching the car.

“There’s a larger, kind of stick-like robot that was reaching in and taking things out – took out a party-colored flag, and what looked like a tennis racket and maybe the handlebars to a bicycle. And then opened up the other door, and the two robots have slowly just been looking in and reaching in and taking things out of the car.” 

The state Assembly adjourned its session early this afternoon as a precaution, as the chamber is on the side of the Capitol affected by the standoff. But all other hearings and sessions continued uninterrupted.

Update 4:34 p.m. A man who blocked traffic and drew a massive police response to the California state Capitol is now in custody.

The man parked his car across three lanes of traffic and refused to follow police commands or leave his car for well over an hour.

Capital Public Radio's Ben Bradford reports from the scene:

"They brought in an armored truck and then SWAT gear, and then spent over two hours trying to talk to the driver – talking to him over megaphones, trying to give him cell phones that he could talk to them on – and essentially get him out of there. And then right about 4 p.m., the man left the car and they handcuffed him and they brought him into custody.”

Authorities closed off several blocks of L Street, which runs adjacent to the Capitol.

Police are now using a robot to search the car.

Update 4:08 p.m. The man who barricaded himself in a car parked in the middle of L Streets across from the Capitol emerged with his hands up and is now in police custody. 

Update 3:47 p.m. Police vehicles have moved to block the silver Mazda parked in the middle of L Street. The car is covered in writing with paper hanging out the windows. The driver has been unresponsive to police commands. 

Update 3:22 p.m. Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler reports the California Assembly has adjourned due to the close proximity to the standoff. 

Update 3:18 p.m. Sacramento Police have called for precautionary evacuations in place on the North side of L Street, between 10th and 12th Streets. Sacramento SWAT and negotiators are on scene to help with the incident.

Authorities are dealing with a driver parked in the road, blocking traffic and not responding to commands. 

Original Post: Authorities say that a traffic stop has turned into a standoff near the Capitol Monday afternoon. 

Officials told Capital Public Radio that a driver refused to comply with demands from police officers to get out of the vehicle. 

A portion of L Street near 11th Street has been shut down. Authorities are advising that people stay away from the area. 

SWAT and negotiators are on scene. The California Highway Patrol is also assisting in the situation.



- Capital Public Radio Staff