An Oak Park neighborhood was locked down in a 5 1/2 -hour siege Saturday after a man dressed in camouflage and seen with a gun hurled a pipe bomb at police officers and barricaded himself inside a nearby home.
No one was hurt when the thrown pipe bomb exploded as Sacramento police arrived in the 4000 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, police said.
The suspect, who was not identified, surrendered about 7 p.m. after having detonated two bombs – including the one thrown at officers – and locking himself inside a house of four friends. The friends safely fled the home over several hours, with two fleeing initially and then two more separately heading out – greeted by heavily armed police officers and SWAT team members and hustled to safety.
After intense negotiations, the suspect surrendered, walking out of the house unarmed as a line of SWAT officers converged toward him.
“Thankfully, we were able to establish a rapport with him and have him peacefully walk out of the house,” said Officer Traci Trapani, Sacramento police spokeswoman.
Police had cordoned off several blocks of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Saturday afternoon and into the evening.
Trapani said officers were responding to reports of an armed man in the neighborhood when they encountered a suspect in camouflage “who hurled a pipe bomb at the officers that detonated but caused no injuries.”
Additional officers, some armed with automatic weapons, then descended on the scene. They were later joined by Sacramento SWAT officers, FBI agents and officers from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who were summoned to the scene as police hostage negotiators worked to resolve the standoff.
Earlier in the afternoon, Marquisha Ward, 19, and her brother, Christian Wood, 11, were inside a townhouse on the boulevard when she said she heard a loud sound she thought was a gunshot.
“Thirty seconds later, a lot of police came. I don’t even know what it is. Oh God, this is crazy,” Ward said.
Her friend Joshua Robinson, also in the townhouse, said he dived to the floor when he heard a loud noise that he also thought was a gunshot. He believed the gunman was in a residence next door.
“We were hiding in the house and the police told us not to come out,” Robinson said. “Then they told us to run away from here.”
Ward, Robinson and Wood ran outside the residence and ducked under police tape two blocks away as they fled the area.
Christian was perplexed by the disruption.
“I was playing Pokémon, and all of a sudden I had to leave the house and run away from my laptop,” the boy said.
Trapani said the friends of the suspect didn’t appear to have been held hostage before they fled the house, leaving the gunman inside. As the standoff continued, authorities warned the public to stay away from the area.
“Our primary focus is on the safety of the community and the safety of the suspect inside,” Trapani said before the man surrendered. “We are taking every precaution to keep the community safe, and the steps we take are very methodical.”
Bomb squad officers retrieved the two pipe bombs, including the one thrown at police and another detonated separately by the suspect, and determined they were no longer a threat.
After the suspect was taken into custody, authorities kept the boulevard closed into the evening as they began searching the house for weapons or more explosives, Trapani said.
She said authorities were interviewing friends of the suspect in hopes of piecing together his actions and motive while learning “what their relationship was with the suspect.” She said the friends were not facing any charges but that authorities were investigating potentially multiple criminal counts against the man taken into custody.
“We are putting together the facts to determine what crimes he committed,” she said.