Standoff at Morgan Hill Apartment Complex Ends as SWAT Team Uses Canines to Draw Out Robbery Suspect - NBC Bay Area
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Standoff at Morgan Hill Apartment Complex Ends as SWAT Team Uses Canines to Draw Out Robbery Suspect

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    Police are still on the lookout for one of two men suspected of robbing a video game store. The other man was arrested after a daylong standoff in Morgan Hill. (Published Monday, Sept. 7, 2015)

    A roughly 20-hour police standoff at a Morgan Hill apartment complex ended just before 12 p.m. Sunday when a SWAT team drew out a robbery suspect who had hidden in the complex overnight.

    Police used pepper spray and a canine unit to lure the suspect out of the house and arrest him, authorities said.

    "[The suspect] barricaded himself and didn’t come out for about 20 hours," Sgt. Troy Hoefling said. "This did seem to be prolonged quite a bit. The SWAT team was called out. Through their tactics, they made their way into the house finally, and the suspect gave up once he heard the police canine."

    At about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, SWAT team members began evacuating about 20 residents inside an apartment complex on Berry Court, as police looked for a suspect connected to an armed robbery that occurred earlier that morning, according to Sgt. Carlo Guerrero.

    Armed Robbery Suspect Spurs Evacuations at Apartment Complex

    [BAY] Armed Robbery Suspect Spurs Evacuations at Apartment Complex
    Evacuations near a Morgan Hill apartment complex remain in effect early Sunday morning, as a SWAT team continues to attempt to draw out a robbery suspect who is believed to be hiding inside the complex since Saturday night.
    (Published Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015)

    Officers were waiting for the suspect at the complex after a witness saw two suspects leaving the scene of the robbery in a vehicle and got a license plate number, leading police to the apartment complex, Guerrero said.

    When an officer tried to stop a driver in a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle description, the lone suspect ran from the vehicle and officers believe he is hiding in an apartment, according to Guerrero.

    "An astute citizen saw a suspicious vehicle leaving the area and got a license plate,"Hoefling said. "A ... previous stop that we’ve had with the car that matched the license plate led us to the location here in Morgan Hill off Crest Avenue."

    The alleged robbery occurred at about 11 a.m. at the Game Stop store at 1057 Cochrane Road, police and a store employee said.

    Two male suspects entered the store, one with a gun, and ordered the two employees into a storage room, Sgt. Carlos Guerrero said. About that time, four customers came in, including a child, and the suspects ordered them into the storage room too, Guerrero said.

    The suspects took cash and some expensive game consoles and left the store, Guerrero said, adding that they also stole some of the customers' personal belongings.

    Leah Correa and her boyfriend were among those customers.

    The pair were looking for video games at Game Stop when a gun-toting man ordered them into a room at back of the store, Correa said.

    Both men were clad in black clothes and their faces were covered by bandannas, she said, adding that one pressed a gun to her partner's back and demanded that they hand over cell phones and wallets. She wasn't carrying anything of value, but her boyfriend was ripped off, Correa said.

    Although the woman and man were ordered into the storage room with two Game Stop employees – one of whom was tied up — as well as a mother and a child, Correa said the men seemed "polite." 

    As soon as she noticed the guns, though, Correa recalled thinking, “I don’t want to know what it feels like to get shot today.”

    Meanwhile, the suspect lived in the Berry Court apartment complex but picked a neighbors' house as his hideout.

    Christa Smith told NBC Bay Area that she went to a train station Saturday evening to pick up her mother. When she returned, however, all roads and "every single access point" leading to the complex was blocked, she said. 

    Her family spent the night in a hotel, but returned to their residence Sunday morning only to be told that their house had been "trashed." Police officers also told Smith that windows in her house had been broken and it would be about four days before her family could return home because the SWAT team had utilized pepper spray on the premises. 

    She also described feeling nervous because officers said that the house is "worse than you think." The Smith family doesn't own renter's insurance, she said because the surrounding Morgan Hill neighborhood is "really nice" and they never imagined needing it. 

    Although Smith's husband is "ex-military," there were no guns or other weapons at home, she said. She believes, however, that the suspect gained entrance into their home via the attic, which is connected to and can be accessed by all eight apartments in the complex.

    The man likely chose her house specifically because it's the only one with two bedrooms and afforded him more space to hide, Smith said.

    Smith also said that she crossed paths with the man nearly everyday but "didn't associate" with him because he didn't give off the "best impression." He was a "little standoffish," she said.

    According to Smith, the man's female companion gave birth to a baby just a few weeks ago. She wasn't sure whether the two are married or dating but said she had also seen another infant with them.

    "That was kind of scary, knowing that he was in there — in my kids' room, in my bedroom," Smith said. "It's very unsettling." 

    NBC Bay Area's Mike Horn contributed to this report.

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