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Standoff with Sonoma stabbing suspect ends peacefully

  • Law enforcement personnel cordon off an area of Sonoma on Friday, Aug. 1, while searching for a suspect in a stabbing. (Elizabeth M. Cosin / The Press Democrat)

A nearly seven-hour standoff in a residential neighborhood in Sonoma ended peacefully early Saturday morning when a 55-year-old man suspected of stabbing his father, was taken into custody by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of attempted murder.

Hector “Gustavo” Vasquez reportedly stabbed his father in the torso just before 6 p.m. Friday and fled into his house on the 1200 block of Mission Drive where he barricaded himself and refused to communicate with law enforcement on the scene.

Members of the Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit, including SWAT team members, hostage negotiators and other support staff, surrounded the home in the Temelec subdivision near Arnold Drive in an attempt to negotiate with Vasquez.

Despite employing a variety of tactics including sending in a robot equipped with video cameras and a micro-phone, police dogs, making announcements via loudspeaker and the phone and even, at one point in the evening, cutting off communications, they were unable to get Vasquez to talk to them.

Finally, at about 12:48 a.m., the neighborhood of mostly retirement homes was jolted by a short bang and the sound of breaking glass as SWAT team members broke a bedroom window. That was followed shortly by dogs – presumably police dogs – barking and yelping.

Moments later, said Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Duke, Vasquez was found in the home and taken into custody.

“The situation was resolved in a peaceful manner,” he said. “The suspect was arrested without incident.”

The victim, who was not identified by name, was stabbed multiple times in the torso and was in stable condition at Napa's Queen of the Valley Medical Center, a hospital official said Saturday morning.

Mission Drive was closed to traffic between Arnold Drive and Temelec Circle and remained closed until the situation was resolved. Some residents in surrounding homes were asked to either leave, but many were able to stay in their houses.

Sheriff’s Office SWAT personnel with their guns drawn were positioned around the home where the suspect was holed up. Their attempts to communicate with him were both by loudspeaker and by phone.


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