A man who barricaded himself in a parked car blocking L Street beside the state Capitol on Monday had become so odd and frightening in recent weeks that his roommates secured a restraining order against him Thursday.
One of the roommates, Karla Garcia, identified the man as Edgar Napoles Rodriguez of Sacramento. Garcia said she recognized Napoles Rodriguez and his car from television footage.
Napoles Rodriguez, 27, was booked into Sacramento County Jail at around 9 p.m. Monday on suspicion of possession of a hoax explosive device and resisting a police officer.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles said the owner of the silver 2001 Mazda that blocked L Street for hours was Edgar Napoles, based on the license-plate number.
Garcia said her roommate had threatened her with a baseball bat recently, leading her to seek a restraining order last week.
“He went to my room with a bat, and I was scared and ran outside and called the police,” she said.
Sacramento Superior Court records show a judge signed a restraining order against Napoles Rodriguez on Thursday, prohibiting him from coming within 100 yards of his two roommates in their apartment on Fulton Avenue.
Garcia said Napoles Rodriguez was angry at his estranged wife, with whom he has a child, and had acted in bizarre ways, including putting a propane tank from a barbecue grill into their apartment’s oven and tearing down her orange curtains to make a flag. He posted pictures of the flag on Facebook, she said.
“I don’t know what he’s trying to say, or what he’s trying to do,” she said.
The man’s Facebook page, in which he calls himself Edgar Rodriguez, shows a photo taken from inside a vehicle looking out at a police car on L Street by the Capitol’s north entrance.
It also has photos, apparently sent to him by police during the standoff, of an officer holding a handwritten note that says:
“I (Officer) Hughes ... do swear to help Edgar Nopales (sic) in search of justice. Edgar will not be arrested for blocking the street. We will have Edgar talk to his kids.”
Other Facebook photos show the man with a boy and a girl. One post says: “I love my kids forever.”
Ultimately, Napoles Rodriguez surrendered with his arms in the air late Monday afternoon after a nearly two-hour standoff in which he sat in his car in front of the Capitol, forcing the closure of L Street. The windshield of his gray sedan was covered in paper festooned with writing.
The arrest came after SWAT officers and negotiators assembled on the scene.
The area around L and 11th streets remained closed to traffic Monday afternoon as the bomb squad worked to make sure the car, which remained in the intersection, did not pose a threat.
About 7 p.m., police said a robot had found two items inside the car that resembled explosive devices. It was later discovered that the items were not a danger.
Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said officers treated the items as if they were explosives. Detectives are working to determine a motive for the incident, according to a police press release.
Napoles Rodriguez arrived outside the Capitol about 1:45 p.m. and quickly “barricaded” himself in, said police spokesman Matthew McPhail. Onlookers swarmed the vehicle, which was parked lengthwise across the entrance to a popular coffee shop, while the man placed handwritten messages in the windshield. He later could be heard screaming at officers from inside the car.
Photos posted on Twitter showed a light-gray car with a bicycle strapped to the top, the windows covered in brown paper. Pieces of paper with writing were taped inside the windshield.
The Capitol was not evacuated, but police cleared buildings near 11th and L streets, according to reports on social media. The state Assembly ended its session early.
Many Capitol visitors were unaware of the situation outside for several hours.
The sergeant-at-arms office ended some of the hearings in rooms along the north side of the building and advised employees to leave offices in the same area shortly before the man exited his car.
Garcia said she knew her roommate’s behavior had been bizarre lately but that the televised standoff at the Capitol caught her off guard.
“I spent one week sleeping at my friend’s because I was so scared of him (but) I was surprised when I saw him on the news,” she said.