A man suspected of hitting his three children in his Salinas home held off police through an hours-long standoff today, eventually being taken down by several SWAT officers who used Tasers to subdue him, police said. The standoff began at about 7:30 a.m. at the home in the 1400 block of Tehama Circle when police received reports of a man in the house assaulting his children, Cmdr. Sheldon Bryan said. Police surrounded the house and learned that two children had managed to get outside, but that one child was still inside. That child had been hiding in a bedroom, and escaped through a window to get away from the man. The children’s mother was called to the scene and took custody of them, Bryan said.
The children did not require medical attention. Family members reported seeing the man with a pistol, but while no pistol was ever found, police said he was armed with an aluminum baseball bat and threw things from the house at the officers, including a cue ball. A SWAT team responded and used a variety of tactics to try and get the man out of the house, including flash-bang grenades and tear gas, but the man would not surrender.
At one point one officer, a former Marine, tried to subdue the man, but the suspect ended up “throwing him around like a rag doll,” Bryan said. Eventually the SWAT team entered the home at about 6 p.m. and attempted to take the man in to custody using Tasers. It took multiple officers five minutes to hold the man down, Bryan said. “It was an extremely violent encounter,” Bryan said, describing the incident as what appeared to be a “psychotic episode.”
The man was taken to a hospital, and even then he needed to be restrained. Four SWAT team members required medical treatment, and another officer was injured but refused treatment, Bryan said. The man was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, felony punishment of a child, battery on a police officer, felony damaging a telephone to avoid police being called, felony child endangerment, and misdemeanor resisting arrest. His name has not been released. A nearby elementary school was locked down for more than seven hours during the standoff, a school clerk said. Natividad Elementary School, at 1465 Modoc Ave., locked in its 700 students at the request of police at about 7:30 a.m. The school, with kids from preschool to sixth grade, started allowing children to leave at 11 a.m., but only in the custody of their parents.
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