A male parolee and a woman were arrested after a more than six-hour standoff today that ended when police fired pepper gas through the window of a motel room where the couple had barricaded themselves, a police spokesman said. Martin Ceniceros Flores, 29, of San Jose, was arrested on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property and being a felon holding a replica firearm, police Sgt. Troy Hoefling said. The woman, Erica Urena Madriz, 29, of Gilroy, was arrested after declining to leave during the standoff and police will hold her “at least” on suspicion of harboring a felon, Hoefling said. The more than six-hour standoff at the Morgan Hill Inn motel blocked traffic on Monterey Street between Cosmo and Tennant avenues all afternoon before ending at about 4:40 p.m., police said.
Monterey Street, which turns into Monterey Road, is a business route through Morgan Hill about a mile west of U.S. Highway. Flores, who listed the U.S. border town of Calexico as another residence, also was arrested for failing to report for parole on an earlier conviction for assault with a deadly weapon, Hoefling said. During the standoff, Flores allegedly broke through a door linking the motel room Madriz paid for to an adjacent room in an apparent attempt to avoid capture, Hoefling said. Breaking the door to enter the unoccupied motel room led to his arrest on suspicion of burglary, Hoefling said. Police, who were unsuccessful using hostage negotiators to persuade the pair to leave the room, opted to fire a pepper gas canister through the window to put an end to the standoff, Hoefling said. “We’d been around this since 9:30 a.m. and there’d been no progress of him coming out,” Hoefling said.
Police also had concerns about public safety if it dragged on any longer, Hoefling said. The standoff, involving a team of SWAT officers standing guard at the motel, continued as Flores and Madriz refused requests from police to come out, Hoefling said. Flores made statements about being armed but turned out only to possess a replica of a firearm when he was arrested, Hoefling said. Police talked to Madriz “and gave her the opportunity to get out and she declined,” Hoefling said. The incident started this morning at the motel at 16250 Monterey St. when a police officer on patrol noticed a silver Nissan Altima in the parking lot had different front and back license plates.
The officer investigated and learned that both plates had been reported stolen in San Jose, Hoefling said. After finding the room associated with the Nissan, officers knocked on the door and heard a woman’s voice say, “Hold on, let me get dressed,” Hoefling said. The officers then heard the shuffling of furniture to the door of the room that blocked police from entering, he said. “They had no intention of opening the door,” Hoefling said. Flores had a history of previous arrests for robbery, burglary, narcotics and domestic violence, Hoefling said. Officers arrested him on suspicion of possessing stolen property after finding pieces of mail and other items inside the Nissan, he said.