Barricaded Man Causes Havoc in San Rafael

Gunman shuts down I-580 in San Rafael, snarling traffic for hours.

By Lori Preuitt
|  Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011  |  Updated 9:13 PM PDT
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A man who fired at least one shot toward the Richmond San Rafael Bridge Wednesday, shut the bridge down for a time.

A man who fired at least one shot toward the Richmond San Rafael Bridge Wednesday, shut the bridge down for a time.

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A barricaded gunman in a hotel in San Rafael caused the closure of I-580 between the Richmond San Rafael Bridge and 101 for hours Wednesday.

A San Rafael police spokeswoman said a man was holed up at the Extended Stay hotel is on  E. Francisco Blvd.  They said he fired at least one shot toward the bridge and that caused police to shut down the bridge as well for about an hour between 11 a.m. and noon.

Police said that there may be a woman in the hotel room with the gunman.  They said the man is a suspect in a recent stabbing at a supermarket and the stand off began when police attempted to question him. 

Police said the suspect was stopped in the parking lot after shoplifting and brought  back inside the store, where he was questioned. During the questioning, he  threatened an employee and held a knife to the person's throat, police said.  He got away.

NBC Bay Area traffic reporter Mike Inouye recommended using Highway 37 as an alternate or avoiding the area all together if possible. There was no estimated time when all roads around the hotel would reopen. The evening commute took triple the time for people trying to get through the area.

Even after the bridge reopened, the CHP still forced drivers to exit on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. once they made it across the bridge and a trip that would normally take a few minutes took an hour or more.

A police negotiator was on the scene and was attempting to talk the man out of the hotel room, but the stand off continued through the 9 p.m. hour.

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