Jamiesfeast – A bank robber was shot and killed by a sniper on Tuesday after grabbing a hostage and holding a knife to her throat. The suspect was later identified as Sterling Avalanche, 36.
“Shortly after 11 a.m., we received a call of a bank robbery in progress with multiple hostages,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told reporters at a news conference outside the bank Tuesday. The FBI also responded to the call, and agents appeared alongside Marceno as he spoke to the reporters.
Deputies at the Bank of America in Bell Tower, Florida, reported the situation began when Avalanche claimed to have a bomb, according to Local 10. Avalanche was actually only equipped with a knife.
Marceno described the incident as an “all-hands-on-deck situation” and a “chaotic scene,” with law officers using a robo-dog, SWAT team, electronic surveillance, and drones.
With the knowledge that he had two hostages in the bank, officers “tried to negotiate with him continuously,” he added.
During talks, Avalanche placed one of the hostages in a headlock and held a knife to her throat. “When he presented deadly force, our SWAT sniper shot and killed the suspect,” Marceno said in a press release. “We were concerned about her life and safety. This is precisely what we cannot accept. “I’m happy to report that both hostages are safe,” he continued.
In a statement issued later that day, the Sheriff’s Office characterized Avalanche as a convicted felon with an “extensive criminal history to include drug trafficking, aggravated assault, and carrying a concealed firearm from several states.”
It’s a sad day when innocent lives are at risk due to other people’s senseless actions, Marceno said in the statement.
The probe is still open and active.