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Man holds authorities in 15-hour standoff overnight in Atascadero

Atascadero police and members of the SWAT team stage on Alamo Street at its intersection with Dolores Avenue in Atascadero, a couple of blocks east of a home where a man had barricaded himself for about 16 hours since early Thursday morning.
Atascadero police and members of the SWAT team stage on Alamo Street at its intersection with Dolores Avenue in Atascadero, a couple of blocks east of a home where a man had barricaded himself for about 16 hours since early Thursday morning. The Tribune

UPDATED 9:15 p.m. Police have named the man arrested after an all day standoff in Atascadero.

Rudolph Charles Muravez II, 45, is being held without bail in County Jail on suspicion of felony domestic battery, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and for a warrant for violation of his probation.

UPDATED STORY An Atascadero man, who at one point brandished an ice pick and later a machete, held authorities in a nearly 15-hour standoff from his barricaded home that ultimately ended in his surrender Thursday afternoon.

“It seems anti-climactic, but it’s the best outcome possible because no one was harmed,” Atascadero police Chief Jerel Haley said.

At about 2:20 p.m. Thursday, the man surrendered without incident after San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office deputies coaxed him from the home. Authorities remained on scene into Thursday evening to evaluate the home and clear it from the tear gas and other items related to the incident.

As of Thursday evening, authorities hadn’t booked the man into San Luis Obispo County Jail pending medical evaluations. They are withholding his name until he is booked.

They also hadn’t said what his motivations were, but indicated that an issue with prescription medication might have been a factor. Specifics were not disclosed. At one point a county mental health worker was on scene to help with negotiations.

Police said the man could face charges of cohabitant battery with injury, as well as additional charges not yet disclosed.

Police first responded to the house on Dolores Avenue on Atascadero’s eastside at 11:38 p.m. Wednesday after a woman called 9-1-1 to report domestic abuse.

The woman — believed to be the standoff suspect’s wife — and the two children inside the house escaped, police said. The children reportedly were uninjured and the extent of the woman’s injuries wasn’t disclosed.

The standoff transformed what neighbors describe as a usually quiet residential area into a scene involving about 25 law enforcement personnel from Atascadero and elsewhere in San Luis Obispo County, an armored vehicle with deputies in camouflage and a mass of onlookers tucked along side streets behind yellow tape.

Watching from afar was Michelle Watson, who lives on nearby Alamo Avenue. Of the people living in the Dolores Avenue home, she said, “I never see them. They are really quiet.”

Neighbor Sharon Meyers was part of another group of onlookers who scoped out the house where the standoff took place with binoculars. “This is the most excitement that’s happened in 30 years on this street,” she said.

While the authorities believed the man wasn’t armed, and no firearms were found registered to his name, they moved through the day’s events with caution, still taking precautions in case he had a gun.

Authorities described the man as “tenacious” because he was uncooperative throughout the day. Law enforcement negotiators attempted for hours to negotiate the man’s surrender, pairing the talks with other tactics such as firing tear gas canisters into the house, their loud pops echoing through the neighborhood.

“The (Special Weapons and Tactics) team usually uses a variety of tactics to keep a suspect agitated,” Haley said. “And when he withstands the barrage of tactics, we know it's someone firmly committed and entrenched. And that causes us concern, that he'll cause harm to himself or us,” he added, explaining why authorities didn't rush the house, instead taking their time to diffuse the situation.

Other tactics authorities said they could have used were cutting off electricity, water and gas to the home. Passing a disposable cell phone to the man to further negotiations was also an option.

At various points the man stopped talking with negotiators, but appeared occasionally through the windows and was seen moving inside the house, Atascadero Police Department spokesman Sgt. Gregg Meyer said.

Meyer also said that at one point officers saw the man naked, but he later dressed again.

The San Luis Obispo County Bomb Task Force was summoned so its robot could be used to check out the property, though it was never used.

Presentation Editor Joe Tarica contributed to this report.



View Larger Map UPDATE 1:30 P.M.:

UPDATE 2:50 P.M.: Authorities are at the home of an Atascadero man who surrendered after barricading himself overnight during a 15-hour standoff, evaluating him before deciding whether he needs medical treatment before he is booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail.

They are expected to be at the home for the next couple of hours, authorities said.

Officers were hosing down the man because he had been exposed to tear gas multiple times during the standoff as authorities tried to coax him to exit the house, authorities said.

An ambulance has been summoned in case he needs immediate treatment, and he would be taken to an undisclosed hospital.

He would then be booked into County Jail.

“The SWAT team usually uses a variety of tactics to keep a suspect agitated,” Atascadero police Chief Jerel Haley said. “And when he withstands the barrage of tactics we know it's someone firmly committed and entrenched.

“And that causes us concern, that he'll cause harm to himself or us” he added, explaining why authorities didn't rush the house, instead taking their time to diffuse the situation.

“It seems anti-climactic, but it’s the best outcome possible because no one was harmed,” Haley said.

Authorities are withholding the man’s name until he is booked.

UPDATE 2:30 P.M.: The man who barricaded himself in his Atascadero home overnight has surrendered and is in law enforcement custody.

Police said he could face charges of cohabitant battery with injury.

Authorities would not disclose the extent of the woman’s injuries as of Thursday afternoon, nor the man’s name or age.

UPDATE 12:30 P.M.: The San Luis Obispo County Bomb Task Force has been summoned to the scene of the Atascadero standoff so its robot could be used to scope out the property where a man has barricaded himself.

Authorities do not suspect that he has an explosive, Atascadero Police Department spokesman Gregg Meyer said.

But they have brought in the task force so it could use its robot to get closer to the house where a man has been barricaded since early Thursday morning.

Authorities are still trying to restart negotiations with the man in the house, whom they described as “tenacious.”

UPDATE 11 A.M.: The man barricaded inside his Atascadero home has stopped talking to authorities, but he is appearing occasionally in some of the house’s windows that are open, Atascadero Police Department spokesman Gregg Meyer said.

“He is coming to the windows every now and then,” Meyer said.

A county mental health worker is also now at the scene to help with negotiations. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office has its armored vehicle on site as well.

Meyer said that authorities don’t suspect that he has any firearms, and none has been found registered to the man’s name.

However, law enforcement officers are still taking precautions in case the man is armed, he added.

Meyer also said that at one point officers saw the man was naked, but that he later got dressed.

On Wednesday night, police saw the man with an ice pick and later a machete that he showed to officers, though the man did not threaten them.

UPDATE 10:40 A.M. Law enforcement officers fired another round of tear gas about six times into the Dolores Avenue home just before 10:30 a.m.

Authorities at the scene were heard yelling for the man barricaded inside to come out.

UPDATE 10:15 A.M. Police first responded to the home at 11:38 p.m. Wednesday on a reported domestic disturbance. A 9-1-1 call to Atascadero police indicated a woman and some children were being threatened by a man with an ice pick and possibly a machete.

The woman and children were able to escape the house, said police spokesman Gregg Meyer.

Police negotiators have attempted to negotiate the man's surrender, but so far that has not happened. The use of tear gas also has not yet forced him to leave the residence.

Watching from afar has been Michelle Watson, whose home on Alamo Avenue is nearby. Of the people living in the Delores home, she said "I never see them. They are really quiet."

ORIGINAL STORY

Sheriff's deputies have fired tear gas into an Atascadero home where a man, who might be armed, has barricaded himself this morning.

Atascadero police and sheriff's deputies responded to a home at 5765 Dolores Ave. on the report of a man who was in the home and had barricaded himself inside. He was either armed with a machete or something else, authorities said.

Tear gas was set off into the home in an effort to force the individual out, but so far, officers said, that has not happened.

The authorities are also concerned that the man might set fire inside the home. Conditions are windy, and there is concern that any fire could spread to nearby homes.

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