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Standoff suspect bragged of surprise; man called a friend to tell him to watch the TV news, Fresno police say
[Fresno, CA]

February 14, 2001
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Standoff suspect bragged of surprise; man called a friend to tell him to watch the TV news, Fresno police say
[Fresno, CA]

Matthew Kreamer The Fresno Bee
February 13, 2001, Tuesday Final Edition
Copyright 2001 McClatchy Newspapers, Inc.
The Fresno Bee
February 13, 2001, Tuesday Final Edition

(FRESNO, Calif.) -- The man who held police at bay for three days during a northeast Fresno standoff last week called to tell a friend on Thursday to watch television news because "something was going to happen that police were not ready for," police said Monday.

Argimiro "Archie" Hernandez Garcia also tried to destroy his handgun and burn other evidence before surrendering, police Lt. Dennis Bridges said.

On Monday, Bridges made public those and other details about the 55-hour standoff inside a condominium at the Fresno Square complex.

The siege began last Tuesday after a short pursuit and reported shootout between Garcia and police, and ended Thursday when Garcia released two hostages and surrendered.

Garcia, 31, is expected to be arraigned today on charges of robbery, burglary, kidnapping, false imprisonment, brandishing a firearm at a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon and assault with a firearm, according to Fresno County Jail records. He also faces charges of vehicle theft and burglary from a previous incident.

When police first made telephone contact with Garcia on Wednesday, he told them his name was Anthony, that there was no Archie in the condominium and that he was friends with the hostages, Bridges said.

Garcia also told police everyone inside the apartment was fine, even though it appears he had pistol-whipped hostages Brian Gille, 26, and Dieng Nguyen, 52, in the face and head.

Bridges said police were concerned that Garcia might have had a hand grenade because sources had seen him with one Tuesday morning before his initial run-in with police.

"Two people said he was known to have a hand grenade in the past and one said he saw him with one Tuesday before pursuit," Bridges said.

One of those sources also told police that Garcia called from inside the condominium on Thursday and told them to watch the news because something was going to happen.

Garcia surrendered that night after releasing the two hostages.

Before he did, though, police said he used power tools to try to destroy his .40-caliber handgun. He also set a small fire in the bedroom, which destroyed evidence and partially destroyed a scanner that Garcia apparently had used to monitor police actions, Bridges said.

Inside the condominium, Garcia had barricaded himself and the hostages inside an upstairs bedroom, piling furniture against the window and door and nailing a large piece of wood against the door to keep police out, Bridges said.

He stuffed the ceiling vents with wet tissue to keep tear gas out and coated the floors with shampoo and lotion to make it difficult for police to enter, Bridges said.

Police found a bulletproof vest and ammunition for two different handguns inside the home, including bullets for the handgun. Three of those bullets were fired by Garcia during the standoff, Bridges said.

One went through the roof, one through the floor into the kitchen below and one through the bedroom door. No one was injured by those shots.

The condominium suffered damage that will not be easily repaired.

Dan Subers, who lives there with Nguyen, his sister, and Gille, a friend, has been staying with friends or in hotels until he can finish cleaning his home.

"There is nothing left. Clothes, carpet, beds, furniture, it's all gone," Subers said. "We'd like to repair all the windows. Then we can clean up and move back in."

Two of the condominium's four rooms are destroyed, Subers said, and most of his home needs major repair. A mattress in an upstairs bedroom was soaked in blood, which police think is from when Garcia beat the hostages.

Subers said Nguyen is staying with family in Los Angeles and Gille is recovering with friends in Fresno.


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