Armed suspect in SFPD custody after barricading in Mission residence
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- A seven-hour standoff with an armed woman in the Mission District came to a peaceful end Friday night.
"About 9 p.m., the person came into the hallway and surrendered to our SWAT officers and hostage negotiators," said SFPD Sgt. Michael Andraychak, "And has now been taken to the hospital for evaluation while we decide what chargers to arrest on."
The ordeal began just before 2 p.m., in the 500 block of Valencia Street, just a block from the Mission Police Station.
Initially, officers only knew that someone had brandished a gun in their apartment, and was unresponsive. Uncertain if it might escalate into an active shooter situation, they took every precaution, and locked down the block.
"I heard on the police officers radio that we were all in the line of fire, so that was very scary," Amirah Mizrahi told KTVU, describing how she and a friend were ordered to remain in a restaurant on the opposite side of Valencia Street.
The 60-year-old woman with the gun was on the the second floor of the Crown Hotel, in a unit with a window facing out.
As SWAT got into place and snipers took positions, police decided to evacuate the block.
"We got outside, just walking, and then another cop gestures toward us to run, run, run, and I got scared, like somebody's going to shoot at me this very minute," added Mizrahi.
"We just ran straight down the street," recounted Rebecca Pierce, " and eventually another cop gestured to us which way to turn, it was chaotic.
Police said the tenant in the single room occupant hotel pointed a gun at a pest control officer who came knocking.
"The door was opened, the firearm was brandished and the victim retreated," explained Sgt. Andraychak.
There was no explanation, and until about 6:30 p.m., no communication either, as crisis intervention officers tried to make contact.
The department moved an armored rescue vehicle into position in front of the building, and used amplified sound to communicate with the woman, which seemed to mark a turning point.
"The person did come out into the hallway and engaged the officers and hostage negotiators in the hallway, but then she keeps going back into the apartment," said Andraychak.
It would be two and a half more hours before the crisis would end.
As the standoff stretched on, people arrived home, or to jobs in the neighborhood, and couldn't get there.
Nearby restaurants kept up business as best they could with two blocks of Valencia Street still cordoned off, and side streets jammed.
For the early evacuees, it was an especially long wait, and Muni buses were brought in for them to sit in as negotiations dragged on.
"The cop had a gigantic sniper rifle, the whole gear, like the movies, " James Abel told KTVU, describing how police took over his room, which faces the suspect's directly across the street.
"They told me, 'We need to use your room now for awhile. Don't worry we're not going to break anything,'" said Abel.
"They told me to go to a safe place, and so I did and now I can't go back in."
Just after 10 p.m., the all-clear was given, after the suspect's room had been searched for weapons or other types of hazards.
Police had no information about her motive or frame of mind.
"The priority was to bring this to a peaceful resolution so we take all the time we need," observed Sgt. Andraychak, "and in cases like this, time is really on our side."
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