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Kenwood standoff situation ends

SWAT teams surrounded a property on Hoff Road in Kenwood Wednesday in response to a police standoff. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

SWAT teams surrounded a property on Hoff Road in Kenwood Wednesday in response to a police standoff. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

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7 p.m. UPDATE:

The 22-hour standoff ended shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday when the unidentified man staggered out of a trailer and collapsed. He was declared dead by a medic at about 6:52 p.m.

After a long afternoon when the man alternately said he would surrender and then reneged, law enforcement personnel started notifying neighbors along Hoff Road shortly after 6 p.m. that the end of the standoff was approaching.

Law enforcement personnel started lobbing ban grenades into the trailer at about 6:27 and started lobbing teargas containers moments later.

At about 6:40 p.m., the man staggered from the trailer and was seen lying on the ground. He didn’t respond when a K-9 was deployed.

About this time, the trailer was reported on fire and personnel dragged the man away from the trailer when it became fully involved.

The I-T will have more details as they are released.

A nearly day-long standoff on a rural property in Kenwood continued Wednesday, with authorities saying an armed man inside a trailer was still refusing to come out and has threatened to shoot police if they try to force him out.

The man, who has not been identified, is said to be a fugitive from Napa County who is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon. He and his girlfriend were known to be on the Kenwood property – located on Hoff Road, a one-block-long country lane extending off Highway 12 – as of about 9 p.m. Tuesday night, according to Sonoma police Chief Bret Sackett.

Sackett said the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office had learned the man was fleeing a felony warrant out of Napa and that “he may be armed and he may have other people inside the trailer.” Authorities later said they believed he had an assault rifle.

Officers surrounded the property, including SWAT teams, Santa Rosa police officers and sheriff’s deputies from Sonoma and Napa counties.

The other person was his girlfriend, and the suspect apparently would not release her at first, making it a hostage situation. “We entered into negotiations all evening” with the suspect, Sackett said, and on Wednesday morning the woman was let out of the trailer. By 10 a.m. she was being interviewed at the Sheriff’s Office in Santa Rosa, according to reports.

A half-hour later, Sackett said the man was still inside the trailer, and that “Negotiations are ongoing with the suspect in the case. We hope for a peaceful resolution soon.”

“Me too,” said the owner of the property, who asked not to be identified. He told a reporter that he keeps the trailer on his property and that a friend has lived there off and on for 15 years.

This friend got a call sometime Tuesday that another person wanted to stay with him, the property owner said. The friend-of-a-friend turned out to be the fugitive.

“No good deed goes unpunished,” the Kenwood man said.

He said that “We were sound asleep” in the middle of the night Wednesday when the commotion really started. His wife awoke to police lights, and two flash-bang grenades were set off by authorities, waking many neighbors on Hoff Road.

When the man went out to see what was going on, he said, authorities declared: “This is the Sheriff’s Department. Go back in the house and lock the door.”

Eventually, the owner and his wife, daughter and son-in-law were evacuated from his property in an armored vehicle and taken to the Kenwood fire station. The man who lives in the trailer escaped and was taken to the fire station as well.

Heidi Porch, a Delta Airlines pilot who had only just returned from Tokyo and lives next door to the property in question, said she was awakened at precisely 1:11 a.m. by the sound of explosions. “I woke up to the sound of a large boom, then a second later another boom. At that point I couldn’t sleep, and 20 minutes later there was a knock on the front door.”

Two sheriff’s deputies told Porch, “We’ve got a suspect holed up in the property next to you.” Porch said they told her to shut and lock her windows and doors, that there might be tear gas floating across the property.

She said she finally got to sleep and that, when she awoke, there was a SWAT SUV in her driveway. One of the officers told her there were as many as 50 law enforcement personnel on site.

Porch said, as of about noon Wednesday, that she was still confined to her property.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, there was still no resolution to the standoff, according to Sackett. Numerous squad cars, unmarked police cars, SWAT vehicles and at least one fire truck and one ambulance were parked along Hoff Road, which remained cordoned off to the public.