Bay Area Suspect Holds Child Hostage

Toddler Held Hostage in Sacramento Apartment

Thursday, Jun 10, 2010  |  Updated 3:58 PM PDT
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Bay Area Suspect Holds Child Hostage

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MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 27: A Miami SWAT team member stands in front of a home that was raided September 27, 2006 in Miami, Florida. The raid is part of an ongoing crack-down in a neighborhood affected by violence. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A Bay Area suspect continued a marathon standoff with police in Sacramento into Thursday.  They think the man suffered a gunshot wound to his arm that many have resulted from an earlier sniper shot.  For a time, authorities were also worried about a baby being held hostage, but say they think he is healthy as of Thursday afternoon.

Several exchanges of gunfire happened overnight between the suspect, Anthony Alvarez, and sheriff's SWAT officers. That included when Alvarez shot at officers as they a broke a window of the apartment where the child was being held.

Alvarez, who relatives said is mentally ill, told his family he also received a head injury, sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran said.

"We tried to rip down the blinds, but as soon as we breached the window, the suspect fired at our officers," Curran said. "At that point, we returned fire and then retreated."

Watch Video From Thursday Morning

Sheriff's officials said Alvarez is wanted in connection with several Bay Area armed robberies. He was stopped Friday in Concord, where authorities said he shot at police and fled. Alvarez is also sought by San Francisco police in connection with a homicide case.

Concord police had been investigating the whereabouts of Alvarez,  a 25-year-old San Francisco man, in connection with a May 26 bank robbery at  the U.S. Bank at 4663 Clayton Road in Concord.

Deputies said Alvarez is hiding in his cousin's first-floor apartment. Some nearby residents were evacuated.

Tessa Alvarez, sister of the suspect, said she offered to go inside the apartment to get her brother to surrender, but she said police declined for safety reasons. She said her brother suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

"It doesn't make sense," she said. "Like, you know, he wouldn't do anything to me, and he just feels scared, and I can help him feel less scared and less stressed out."

She said she also spoke to her brother by cell phone, but the phone was disconnected.

Curran said authorities are concerned because they have not heard any noises from the child for several hours. Earlier, officers heard the child crying. The child is Anthony Alvarez's cousin. Tessa Alvarez said she believes her brother is caring for the toddler.

A robot was used overnight in an attempt to get a look inside of the apartment. Firefighters also hosed down the apartment in an effort to break windows.

The standoff began at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday when Alvarez saw an officer and grabbed his cousin's 1-year-old son and brought him into an apartment.  Several adults fled from the apartment.

It was later determined that there was also a 4-year-old child in  the unit who was evacuated through a rear window without Alvarez's knowledge.

Suffering from fatigue, the sheriff's SWAT officers were relieved  overnight by SWAT officers from the Sacramento Police Department.

 KCRA.com and Bay City News contributed to this report.

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