Standoff halts traffic, work for hours at California Capitol

AP News
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Posted: Apr 19, 2016 1:12 AM
Standoff halts traffic, work for hours at California Capitol

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A vehicle covered in scribbled writing blocked traffic across from the California Capitol on Monday, stopping traffic for hours, leading police to close nearby businesses and disrupting government operations as officers tried to talk to a man inside before he was taken into custody.

The man inside the suspicious car voluntarily surrendered around 4 p.m., stepping out of the car more than two hours after the standoff began, said Officer Matthew McPhail of the Sacramento Police. Hours later police had found a device deemed suspicious in the man's trunk and were working to render it safe.

"Even though the man is now out of the vehicle, we don't yet know the entirety of why he was here or what his purpose was," McPhail said.

The man could be seen raising his hands and wearing a black tank top and red sweat pants as he surrendered.

The Sacramento Bee spoke to the man's roommates and checked the car's records at the Department of Motor Vehicles to identify him as Edgar Napoles Rodriguez, 28, of Sacramento.

One of the roommates, Karla Garcia, said that Rodriguez had been acting so strange and frightening lately that they had received a restraining order against him on Thursday.

Garcia said Rodriguez had threatened her, had put a propane tank from a barbecue grill into their apartment's oven and had torn down curtains to make a flag. "He went to my room with a bat, and I was scared and ran outside and called the police," she told the Bee (http://bit.ly/1VfptUG ).

Garcia said Rodriguez was angry at his estranged wife, with whom he has a child, but she has no idea what his motivation might have been for the standoff at the Capitol. "I don't know what he's trying to say, or what he's trying to do," she said.

Rodriguez parked in the middle of a busy street outside the north entrance to the Statehouse around 1:45 p.m., blocking three lanes of traffic, leading police to close restaurants and clear businesses for several blocks.

The state Assembly ended business early Monday afternoon because of the standoff outside, and two of three entrances to the state Capitol were closed. Capitol tours continued, and visitors joined people who work downtown to watch the scene unfold throughout the afternoon.

McPhail said SWAT and hostage personnel tried to speak with the driver, who could be seen posting handwritten notes on the windshield, but he did not speak to them.

The street remained closed for hours after the man surrendered.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that it is Officer Matthew McPhail, not Michael McPhail.