Police sniper kills suspected bank robber who took hostages in Florida

A police sniper shot dead a suspected bank robber who had taken two people hostage at a busy branch of Florida Tuesday.

A SWAT unit sniper opened fire when the suspect, named Sterling Ramon Alavache, 36, held a knife to the throat of a hostage at a Bank of America branch in a shopping center in off US-41 south of Fort Myers, the Lee County sheriff said. The office said.

The sheriff’s office said officers responded to a call shortly after 11 a.m., entered the building and began negotiations as customers and staff ran outside. NBC News affiliate station WBBH showed a video showing the moment a deputy conducted a tense negotiation with the suspect in the bank lobby.

“Quickly, we found ourselves face to face with a suspect who was armed with a knife and who also claimed to have a bomb. He had two hostages at that time and we tried to negotiate with him constantly,” Sheriff Carmine Marceno said at a news conference outside the bank Tuesday.

“At one point during the negotiations he got physical – he hit one of the hostages like a headlock and he put a knife to his throat,” he said.

“When he exhibited deadly force like that, our SWAT team shot and killed the suspect. We were afraid for his life and safety – I’ll give you all the details I can, it’s a new scene.

The sheriff’s office used a remote-controlled “robodog” surveillance device and drones to monitor the suspect’s actions, Marceno said.

“I am proud to say that the two hostages are safe,” Marceno added.

A suspect was killed by a SWAT team sniper on Tuesday, February 6, 2024. Neither the hostages nor law enforcement were injured. (Andrew West / USA Today Network via Imagn)

The SWAT unit member who fired the fatal shot was placed on administrative leave pending further investigation, which Marceno said was standard protocol in death cases.

He said he “could not be more proud of the men and women who enforce the law today.”

In a separate statement posted to Facebook, Marceno said his…

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