General Crime

Salinas Police Shoot Non-Lethal Projectile to Subdue Man Who Allegedly Threatened Officers in 2 Hour Standoff

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Salinas police early this morning subdued a disorderly man with a non-lethal projectile shot to his abdomen following a more than two-hour standoff during which some spectators taunted officers, police said. At 9:50 p.m. Monday, police were dispatched to an apartment complex in North Salinas based on a 911 call from Nicolas Vela, who said he was “crazy,” had a gun and was going to kill someone, Salinas police Cmdr. Sheldon Bryan said.

When officers arrived at the two-story complex in the 1800 block of Cherokee Drive at North Main Street, Vela was standing in the upstairs window of a unit, yelling and threatening to shoot police, Bryan said. Vela also pointed several objects at officers as if they were guns, including a shard of broken glass, a beer can and a glass bottle, which he threw at them but caused no injury or property damage.

An officer from the Police Department’s hostage negotiations team spoke with Vela for some time, but the suspect remained inside, broke out several windows and threw various items down to the ground below. Police set up perimeters and controlled traffic in the area. A group of about 50 spectators gathered across Main Street in the parking lot of an Olive Garden restaurant, some shouting anti-police comments and profanities and urging Vela on, but officers successfully discouraged them from continuing, according to police.

Salinas Fire Department emergency responders obtained a doctor’s approval to sedate Vela at the time of his arrest if needed, police said. After more than two hours of negotiating, officers observed Vela standing with his torso exposed at a window and fired a non-lethal 40mm projectile from a launcher that struck him in his abdomen.

Officers immediately entered Vela’s apartment while he was temporarily incapacitated and shot a flashbang explosive into the dwelling to disorient him with its loud noise and flash of light, police said. When officers reached Vela, he tried to resist but was eventually subdued. Vela was arrested at about 12:10 a.m. this morning. He was taken to Natividad Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries. Police then booked him into county jail on suspicion of threatening a police officer, resisting arrest and felony vandalism.

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