Law enforcement sniper shoots accused bank robber through computer monitor

Sniper shoots alleged bank robber

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Lee County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office has released the video of the moment a law enforcement sniper shot and killed a man who had been holding hostages inside a bank in Fort Myers in February.

The office posted the video, which some may find disturbing, on Facebook to “provide more context behind the fatal suspect standoff.”

The suspect was identified as Sterling Alavache, WINK reported. A woman who was in the bank when police said the man entered recounted to the television station what happened.

“He came running in, and he was screaming, ‘I have a bomb. I have a bomb,’” Marsha Brown told WINK. “He said, ‘I have a bomb, and I will use it.’”

“He wasn’t trying to retain us at all. He just said, ‘Get out.’ and we all ran,” Brown explained. “I didn’t know that he had hostages. He was young. Foolish, very foolish. No mask.”

Alavache’s friends said he was a good person who struggled with addiction, the television station reported.

(The edited video is graphic, so it has not been embedded here.)

Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in a news conference that the suspect was armed with a knife and claimed he had a bomb inside the Bank of America branch on Feb. 6, holding two hostages.

Marceno said the department tried to negotiate with the man, who at one point became physical with a female hostage, putting her in a headlock with the knife to her throat.

Shortly after the incident Marceno said that a sniper did open fire, but did not disclose from where, WPLG reported at the time.

A sniper with the special operations unit shot and killed the man after he went into the bank’s lobby and “positively identified the suspect” and using a “team member-supported firing position,” the department’s public information officer said in the video released Saturday.

The accused bank robber had limited exposure, the department said. The video showed that the man was concealed in a corner behind the teller counter, WPEC reported, before “the sniper took a planned and deliberate shot through a computer monitor,” killing the man instantly. Flashbangs were then deployed before the team moved in to make sure that the man was down and to rescue the hostages.

The office said snipers with the sheriff’s office frequently train for shooting through a barrier.


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