Novato Police Give Suspect Vape Pen to End 6-Hour Standoff

A six-hour standoff ended peacefully Saturday afternoon after a suspect who asked police for cigarettes accepted a vape pen instead, police said.

Juan Roman, 40, of Novato, surrendered about 1:30 p.m. and was arrested on suspicion of attempted arson and vandalism, according to Novato police.

Officers first responded at 7 a.m. to a 76 gas station convenience store on Ignacio Boulevard, where Roman allegedly poured gas and tried to set a fire.

Police believe he was angry that he couldn't get a fuel pump to work at the station, and that he was also upset about family issues, said Novato Police Lt. Sasha D'Amico.

Authorities had been alerted and followed Roman as he drove away from the 76 station in his pickup truck to a Safeway fueling station on Nave Drive, less than a mile away.

Police then tried to talk him out of his vehicle and called in crisis negotiators and a SWAT team, believing Roman might have a weapon. They also believed that he might have splashed fuel on himself at the 76 station.

After six hours, he said he would surrender if negotiators gave him cigarettes, but police decided that wouldn't be a good idea, given the possibility of fuel on his clothing.

When they gave him a vape pen instead, he agreed to surrender, D'Amico said. Police did not find a firearm on Roman, or in his vehicle, she said.

Video of Roman's surrender can be found on the California Highway Patrol's air operations division Facebook page.

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