Swift Sniper Intervention: Bank Robber Neutralized with Knife-Held Hostage in Florida

SBON, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 4: A law enforcement sniper member stands on a roof prior to the arrival of Pope Francis at Serafina parish social centre to meet with representatives of volunteers and charity centres, on August 4, 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal.

In a tragic incident that unfolded in Florida, law enforcement authorities were forced to take drastic measures to protect innocent lives. A police sniper fatally shot a suspected bank robber who had taken two people hostage in a busy branch.

During a tense standoff at a Bank of America branch in a shopping center near Fort Myers, a SWAT unit sniper took action when a suspect, identified as Sterling Ramon Alavache, 36, threatened a female hostage with a knife, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies swiftly responded to a call just after 11 a.m. They promptly entered the building and initiated negotiations while customers and staff quickly evacuated.

NBC News’ affiliate station WBBH aired footage that documented a deputy engaging in a high-stakes negotiation with the suspect inside the bank’s lobby.

Immediately, we found ourselves in a tense situation as we encountered a man wielding a knife and making threats of having a bomb. “At this point, he had two hostages and we made continuous efforts to negotiate with him,” Sheriff Carmine Marceno stated during a news conference held outside the bank on Tuesday. 

“During the negotiations, there was a moment of aggression where he physically restrained one of the hostages, holding a knife to her throat,” he recounted.

According to Marceno, the sheriff’s office utilized a remote-controlled surveillance device called a “robodog” and drones to closely monitor the suspect’s activities.

“I am pleased to announce that both hostages have been safely rescued,” Marceno added.

SWAT Officer on Leave After Fatal Shot in Florida Bank Robbery

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 12: A Bank of America Branch stands in Manhattan on January 12, 2024 in New York City. Bank of America, the Charlotte, North Carolina based bank, announced that its net income fell to $3.1 billion in the fourth quarter, down more than 50% from $7.1 billion, or 85 cents per share, a year ago.


The SWAT unit member who fired the fatal shot has been placed on administrative leave while further investigation takes place, as per standard protocol in cases involving a death, according to Marceno.

He expressed his immense pride in the dedication and bravery of law enforcement personnel. In a separate statement shared on Facebook, Marceno expressed the difficult decision his team had to make in order to protect the public during a highly unpredictable situation.

“I am extremely relieved that none of the victims or my team were injured today,” he expressed with gratitude.

According to the sheriff’s office, the suspect had a long history of criminal activity in various states, including drug trafficking, aggravated assault, and carrying a concealed firearm.

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