02/03/2011

Ex-mall cop has long SWAT standoff

The 28 year old was hit with a TASER and arrested for reportedly making threats to mall-goers

By Sunita Vijayan
Salinas Californian

SALINAS, Calif. — Following a lengthy stand-off with a Salinas police SWAT team, a former Northridge Mall security officer was shot with an electrical stun gun, forced into submission and arrested early Wednesday on suspicion he made threats to harm mall-goers, police said.

The exact nature of the threats that Marcos Gonzales, 28, is alleged to have made and to whom they may have been directed was not disclosed by authorities or mall officials.

Salinas police began the investigation on Saturday.

After securing warrants, police said, officers proceeded to Gonzales's apartment in the 2000 block of Santa Rita Street about 10 p.m. Tuesday night. Once there, Gonzales refused to allow officers into his apartment, which led to a 6-hour-long standoff.

Although crisis negotiators tried to talk Gonzales into surrendering, he failed to comply.

After confronting SWAT officers at the doorway of his apartment, Gonzales was shot with a Taser stun gun and taken into custody, police said.
Mall has well-trained security staff

No one was injured as a result of the encounter, they said, and Gonzales was sent for a mental health exam pending being booked into the Monterey County Jail.

Officers evacuated several residents of the apartment building during the standoff with Gonzales, police said, but they have since returned home.

Don Bentz, Northridge Mall's senior property manager, confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Gonzales previously worked as a security officer but had quit sometime in the past year.

Citing personnel information restrictions, Bentz declined to say why Gonzales left his job at the mall.

He also refused to discuss the mall's background check and prescreening procedures, stating that he "can't discuss [the mall's] security practices."

"We have an excellent security staff and they're well-trained," Bentz added.

He deferred all questions about the investigation into Gonzales to Salinas police officials.

Read the original story on the Salinas Californian.

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