It ended 12 hours after it started but not without burning a house down. During and after neighbors to the dangerous stand-off with a wanted man expressed frustration about the noise, and danger of the stand-off that included long range sniper, but hours into the stand-off locals were not complaining about the delays and dangers, but were glowing in compliments for the work our dedicated law enforcement was doing on a cold January night.
On Thursday morning Sheriff’s deputies served an arrest warrant at a residence near Black’s lane off of Cold Springs road between the Golf Course and the Water Treatment plant. But things did not go well and soon reinforcements arrived including CHP, Fire Medics, and SWAT. A fleet of law enforcement was stage at the Water Treatment plant and soon Cold Springs road was closed.
At about 3:00 pm it was reported that EDSO cars and CHP cars were assembling near Black’s Lane off of Cold Springs road.
Local Amanda T. heard police activity on loud speakers. Another nearby resident said, “when I left for Sac saw 2 ED Sheriffs at the subject house. Going down Cool Water, about 20 LE vehicles at the treatment plant.”
Soon it was reported that, “someone w/a warrant unwilling to come out on their own so swat is preparing to go in for them.”
At this time law enforcement was letting cars pass on Cold Springs. But as things escalated it was heard on the scanner, “Sniper coverage at 160 yards out.”
Soon after, all traffic was closed on Cold Springs Road.
Then it was posted, “Road is closed from Cool Water intersection to the driveway at 2150 Cold Springs Rd. EDSO SWAT standoff with barricaded subject. CHP has road closed with no ETA of opening. Find alternate route.”
A single male was holed up in the house refusing to come out and give up to the demands of law enforcement that was now surrounding the home in a an Iron-Curtain-like perimeter.
Several locals took to the local Facebook Watch group.
[El Dorado County Watch on Facebook is a developing electronic version of the traditional neighborhood watch programs] There were many people living near the police action that gave blow-by-blow accounts of their first hand observations. Often information was transferring on Facebook much faster than official channels.
The suspect was described by one local as a mental health sufferer that was off his meds and drunk. This is not confirmed but local law enforcement refused to make a paramilitary attack to capture the suspect. They had him safely confined the house and they were making every effort to end the stand-off peaceably.
Many locals remember the tragic outcomes of Law Enforcement and Mental Health patients in the county. After a number of deaths that the community felt were avoidable, our current Sheriff, John D’Agostini was elected and promised change. One of the changes was training officers how to recognize a mental health issue and how to deal with it in a less violent manner.
Almost 11 months ago to the day, the Sheriff’s department had another standoff in El Dorado Hills. Rather than a fast and immediate attempted takedown, advance tactics were used that were developed for hostage taking situations. It involves long negotiations, sleep deprivations, and tactics designed to get in a take control of a situation WITHOUT the hostages being hurt.
That standoff ended peacefully and it looked as if the same tact was being employed at the Cold Springs home.
From 3pm until midnight the EDSO repeatedly demanded the suspect come out, fired what appeared to be tear gas and Flashbangs, threatened with the K-9 unit, and even tossed a phone into the building to try to get the suspect communicating.
This is a long process where law enforcement might look stymied to the public, but our public seems much more informed and understood the tactics being used. It was clear that law enforcement was prepared to wait him out rather than make a dangerous entry attempt.
Shortly before midnight a nearby local wrote: “This did start about mid morning… my nephew and I were working in the front yard when it started…swat did not show up until later in the afternoon. We have and are still listening to them trying to get him out. At one point earlier they asked to go back into the house. That was about the time the swat showed up. … Hoping we will be able to get some sleep…been watching vehicles come and go.”
But around midnight things changed quickly as it was seen that the house, with the standoff suspect in it, was on fire!
This initiated an immediate response and within a few hectic moments the suspect was in custody with burns reported on his feet and hands, but largely unharmed. The fire very quickly engulfed the home but fire crews were at the ready and the flames were doused out within just half an hour.
It was reported that the suspect was transported to UCD burn center for treatment, but this is unconfirmed.
The standoff took 12 hours and the mob was still in full swing this morning.
Shortly after 7am, Katie A. reported that, “My husband was able to get through just now. Still lots of personnel but the road is open.
Everyone is always happy to see a police standoff end without a violent shooting, but the community’s reaction to the police action said a lot.
Here are some comments made by those in the area and directly affected by the extended police action:
Mark Swick — Things can be replaced.. After a lengthy standoff, our local law enforcement was able to take a man into custody without shooting. I can’t put into words how proud I am of the officers in this community for the concentrated patience, focus, and professionalism it took to save a life and not end one this evening. Bravo ladies and gentlemen.
Laura Miner Clark — He is alive… the best case did happen… the fire is sad, but he is alive. Thank you EDSO for your patience… I also have a family member that is seriously mentally ill, so I kept thinking that no matter how long this takes he is someone’s son.
Tonya Mann — Thank goodness no one was hurt. The house can eventually be rebuilt…………a life cannot. Way to go EDSO and all involved.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time but arson investigators will be making a report about this as they complete their investigation. Unconfirmed reports claim the suspect started the fire but it could have been an accidental fire strat cause by the non-lethal devices used in the standoff.
The use of “Stun Grenades” often called a “Flashbang” is suspected to have caused unintended ignition in other cases. Law enforcement used these tools in an attempt to convince the suspect to give up peaceably.
A stun grenade, also known as a flash grenade or flashbang, is a non-lethal explosive device used to temporarily disorient an enemy’s senses. It is designed to produce a blinding flash of light and intensely loud noise “bang” of greater than 170 decibels (dB) without causing permanent injury. The flash produced momentarily activates all photoreceptor cells in the eye, making vision impossible for approximately five seconds, until the eye restores itself to its normal, unstimulated state. The loud blast is meant to cause temporary loss of hearing, and also disturbs the fluid in the ear, causing loss of balance.
For those that watch cop shows, the Flash of Light and loud bang often seen just before officers rush in, is a stun grenade.
Pictures were taken by Amanda Poe via El Dorado County Watch athttps://www.facebook.com/groups/ElDoradoCOWatch/
This facebook group has almost 16,000 local residents as members!
The scene is still an active investigation scene and the EDSO has released this additional information:
Due to the nature of the charges, the Crises Response Unit was activated and the roadway closed. Announcements asking the subject to exit the residence were made over the next twelve hours without success. At the same time, Crises Negotiators attempted to contact him on the telephone. A second phone was thrown into the residence so that he could communicate with negotiators.On January 1, 2015, at approximately 11:30 am, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputies attempted to serve an arrest warrant in the 2200 block of Cold Springs Road in Placerville. A male living at the residence was wanted for charges related to felony domestic violence. When deputies attempted to contact him, he refused to exit the residence. At one point he came outside for a brief moment with a knife and said he was going to kill himself.
After continuing to receive no response for several hours, SWAT deployed gas munitions hoping the male would comply. The subject still refused to answer the phone or make any contact with deputies. Fearing the subject still had the knife; SWAT did not make entry into the residence.
At approximately 11:00 pm, the Crises Response Unit’s robot located the subject hiding in a bedroom closet. He was asked numerous times to exit the residence, but still he refused. At approximately 11:30 pm, deputies noticed a small fire in the bedroom of where the subject was hiding. Deputies deployed numerous fire extinguishers at the same time as calling for fire personnel, who was already staged nearby.
The fire quickly spread through the bedroom as officers yelled for the subject to exit. Eventually, the subject walked outside and was immediately tended to by medical personnel on scene. Fire personnel were able to prevent any damage to surrounding properties; however, it appeared the residence sustained significant damage. The subject was airlifted to a hospital with unknown injuries. His identity is not being released at this time due to the ongoing investigation.
Sheriff D’Agostini appreciates the community’s patience during this incident and is very proud of the professionalism and patience of the men and women of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.