Florida cops say sniper shot accused bank robber while holding knife to hostage’s throat
A man accused of trying to rob a Bank of America was shot and killed by a sniper when he became aggressive toward a hostage, a Florida sheriff said.
The man, identified in a Facebook post as Sterling Ramon Alavache, 36 years old, He entered Bank of America In Fort Myers around 11 a.m., Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said during a news conference.
The Sheriff’s Office received a phone call about a “bank robbery with multiple hostages” shortly after, Marceno said.
“It’s all hands on deck,” Marceno said, joined by FBI agents. It was a chaotic scene. We have deployed all the technology, including the robot dog, our SWAT team, electronic surveillance, and drones.
Deputies rushed into the building while dozens of people emerged from inside, Marceno said.
The rest of the building was secured, according to the sheriff, and hostage negotiators contacted Alvachi inside the bank.
Marceno said the man was carrying a knife and took two people hostage, claiming he had a bomb.
“At some point during the negotiations, he got physical,” the sheriff said. “He started by holding one of the hostages in place like a headlock, and holding the knife to her throat.”
When Alfaci began to show potential “lethal force,” the sheriff said, a SWAT sniper shot him dead.
Marceno said that the two hostages were unharmed and were safely rescued from the bank.
The SWAT team shooter will be placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues, according to office policy, the sheriff said.
“This is exactly what we train for. We train for the worst-case scenario. We train for hostage negotiations. And what that means, going from the worst-case scenario to the best-case scenario. This is a very unfortunate incident, but I will tell you that the safety of the two hostages was paramount,” Marcino said. “Our priorities.”
Alavachi was a convicted felon who faced charges of drug trafficking, aggravated assault and carrying a concealed firearm from several states.
Al-Sharif said the investigation is “open and active,” and more details are expected to be released.
Fort Myers is located about 130 miles south of Tampa.
(tags for translation) Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno