Police: Suspect violently attacked family members

Fernando Sanchez arrested following Oct. 17 incident

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Gilroy resident Alan Viarengo, who taught math at Gavilan College for nearly 20 years, was arrested last week on suspicion of stalking and threatening Santa Clara County’s public health officer, and police say he has ties to the anti-government domestic terrorist group known as “Boogaloo.”

Police arrested a 60-year-old man who used multiple weapons to attack members of his family in Hollister before stabbing himself with a kitchen knife several times, according to authorities.

About 12:45pm Oct. 17, Hollister police officers were advised of a 911 call in which multiple people were heard yelling in the background. As officers were responding to the area of the 100 block of College Street, dispatchers were able to get someone from the address to pick up the phone.

The 911 caller told authorities that Fernando Sanchez, 60, had attacked family members with a mallet, police said. Sanchez allegedly struck a 17-year-old female on the head several times when the teen attempted to stop the suspect from attacking her mother.

Sanchez then armed himself with a kitchen knife and continued attacking family members, who were able to barricade themselves in the home, police said.

Sanchez walked into the backyard. Hollister Police officers Theresa Aguilera and Pedro Torres arrived at the home and saw Sanchez in the backyard stabbing himself on his chest and neck area, authorities said. The officers told Sanchez to drop the knife but he refused, and continued to stab himself.

Officers recognized that Sanchez’ suicidal actions might be intended to provoke police to shoot him, police said. Similar situations have been known to officers as “suicide by cop.”

The Hollister officers attempted to de-escalate the situation by keeping their distance from Sanchez, police said. Hollister Police Sgt. Ray Celano arrived with a “less than lethal kinetic energy impact launcher,” essentially a shotgun loaded with rounds similar to small beanbags, police said.

Celano fired two kinetic rounds at Sanchez in an effort to get him to drop the knife. Both shots hit Sanchez in his arms, and he dropped the weapon.

Officers quickly handcuffed Sanchez and rendered first aid, police said. Sanchez was bleeding profusely, but medics were able to quickly stabilize and transport him to a nearby trauma hospital.

The 17-year-old victim was transported to the hospital for injuries suffered during Sanchez’ attack, police said.

Sanchez is being held at the hospital for evaluation, and is undergoing surgery, according to authorities. Police said he faces several felony charges related to assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.

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