A toddler is safe and an armed man accused of holding him hostage inside a Sacramento apartment is dead after a dramatic end to a standoff that lasted more than 55 hours.
The suspect, 26-year-old Anthony Alvarez, had been holding his cousin's young son hostage since late Wednesday morning at an apartment complex in an unincorporated area near Sacramento.
Alvarez was wanted for allegedly shooting at a Concord police officer investigating his involvement in a May 26 bank robbery in Concord, and was also being sought for questioning in a Bay Area homicide, authorities said.
Alvarez spent much of the past three days in a hallway where he couldn't be seen from the outside. His family members have said he suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
"We had a line of sight into every room in the apartment except for the hallway where he was hiding," sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran said Friday night.
Friday evening authorities made their move. Shortly before 7 p.m., a bomb squad blasted an 18-inch hole in a wall of the unit, providing a view into the hallway where Alvarez was holed up, Curran said.
About 10-15 minutes later, a sheriff's SWAT member approached the hole and came into Alvarez's view. Alvarez "saw the officer at the hole and he engaged and started shooting," Curran said. The SWAT officer shot back, hitting and wounding Alvarez, he said.
"During the whole time, the baby was in close proximity to the suspect," Curran said.
While the gunfire was being exchanged, other SWAT officers broke through a living room window and entered the apartment. They shot at the wounded Alvarez, killing him, Curran said.
The baby, identified as Michael Pittman Jr., suffered a small scrape to his leg at some point during the standoff but was otherwise unharmed, Curran said. He was taken to a hospital for evaluation and reunited with his family.
Curran said he had visited the boy as he sat in the back of an ambulance and called him "the cutest little boy you'd ever want to see."
"I almost started crying," he said. "I get all choked up talking about it." Curran said the tot “appeared happy, healthy."
Curran called the sheriff's crew heroes, and said a standoff like this one is unprecedented in sheriff's department history.
The officers involved in the shooting will be placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated.
Bay City News contributed to this report.