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Hollister
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September 18, 2021

Man brandishing weapons arrested after standoff

Incident occurred early Thursday morning outside former Kmart 

Following an hours-long standoff, police arrested a man who was brandishing weapons and threatening to hurt himself outside a vacant store in Hollister, authorities said.

About 6:38am Sept. 9, a woman called Hollister Police to report her brother had called her and made suicidal comments, says a press release from the Hollister Police Department. The man also told his sister that he was “going to do something,” according to police.

Two officers arrived at the front door area of the former Kmart store on Tres Pinos Road and made contact with the 44-year-old man. As soon as the officers spoke to the man, he brandished what appeared to be a handgun, authorities said.

The officers requested backup and told responding police that the man was now pointing the gun at his head, the press release says.

Additional officers from the Hollister PD and San Benito County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene and set up a perimeter around the man, authorities said. “Officers were concerned with the man walking toward other people or possibly charging at officers to provoke a shooting,” the press release says.

The officers tried to contact the man through a police vehicle’s loudspeaker system, and by calling his cell phone, police said. However, he did not verbally respond to the officers and was acting “despondent.”  

The man then discharged his gun several times, leading police to determine the weapon was a “realistic looking” pellet gun that was unlikely to pose a danger to officers, authorities said. He then armed himself with a large knife, and continued to pace back and forth while speaking incoherently.

During the standoff, an officer contacted the man’s family to seek help in resolving the situation. Officers spoke to a family member, who agreed to speak to the man by cell phone to try to convince him to put the knife down, police said.

The man agreed to talk to his family member on the phone, but still did not release the weapon, police said.

The city’s S.A.F.E. team—which consists of Hollister Police Officer Staci Esqueda and Mental Health Case Management Services Manager Nancy Abellera—responded. Esqueda spoke with the man for several minutes, and he agreed to put the weapons down, police said.

At 9:03am, the man was taken into custody without further incident, according to authorities. He was transported to a nearby hospital for a mental health evaluation. Hollister PD will refer charges of brandishing weapons and delaying/resisting officers to the San Benito County District Attorney’s Office.

Authorities have not released the man’s name.

Anyone suffering from a mental health crisis or who is in need of services can call the San Benito County Behavioral Health Crisis line at (888) 636-4020 or (831) 636-4020, or visit the county’s behavioral health website at www.cosb.us/departments/behavioral-health. The national Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at (800) 273-8255.

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