Calif. hostage-taking ends peacefully

Aug. 6, 2012 at 1:21 AM
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YUBA CITY, Calif., Aug. 6 (UPI) -- A 4-hour hostage incident at a sporting goods store in Yuba City, Calif., ended peacefully Sunday when the gunman surrendered, police said.

Police said the 28-year-old suspect fired at least one shot into the air when he entered the Big 5 Sporting Goods store about 11:15 a.m., apparently with the intent of robbing it, Sacramento's KCRA-TV reported. The store's merchandise includes guns and ammunition.

The gunman took an 18-year-old female cashier and a male employee in his early 20s hostage, while several customers ran to safety, police said. The gunman ordered the store manager out after she turned over keys to the gun and ammunition cases, police said.

The Marysville Appeal-Democrat reported the two hostages were released uninjured about 3 p.m. shortly before the gunman was taken into custody.

One shopper, Wendy Boatright, 50, of Marysville, told the newspaper she saw the gunman walk into the store, stop near the cash registers and fire a handgun into the air. She said he ordered everyone to the back and scanned the store while pointing the gun.

"He pointed it at me but he wasn't making eye contact. He looked nervous," she said. "The lady next to me took off running."

Other customers and workers ran as well but the gunman grabbed the 18-year-old cashier by the throat.

When the gunman began to look for the store's office, Boatright said she dropped the shoes she had intended to buy and ran outside screaming.

City police spokeswoman Shawna Pavey said the store's manager was in her office when she heard a single gun shot, hid under her desk and called 911. The gunman came in and demanded the store keys. After she turned them over, he ordered her out of the store, Pavey said.

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