Police rescue child hostages, shoot bank robbery suspect to end standoff

APPLE VALLEY, Calif. - A gunman held a pair of young children hostage for nearly 10 hours Tuesday until a SWAT team burst into the apartment where he was hiding and shot him, officials said.

The children were not hurt. The suspect, Roy Latrae Parker, 25, was taken by police helicopter to a hospital, and his condition was not immediately known, said San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokesman Chip Patterson.

Hours before police stormed the apartment, Parker had released a third child unharmed. His mother had said at the time he was sorry for what happened and would not hurt the remaining hostages.

Authorities said Parker took the children hostage after robbing a bank and then shooting at police and stealing a car as he fled. He ran into the children's apartment because the door was open and their father was out in the yard.

The youngest of the three hostages, a 1-year-old girl, was released around 5 p.m. A 5-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl remained inside the triplex with the suspect until police rescued them about four hours later.

Patterson said police decided to storm the house after dark because telephone negotiations with Parker had broken down.

'' He told us he'd be sending out one child and then the other and he wouldn't do it,'' Patterson said. ''Basically the negotiations began to break down in a serious way and that really concerned our people because he had two very young children in there and we didn't know exactly how they were being treated.

''We didn't know what this man would do. He'd already fired shots in the day and he'd already carjacked someone, so obviously we were dealing with a dangerous person.''

Earlier in the day, Parker's mother, Jackie Parker, had arrived from Los Angeles to help police with negotiations, recording a videotape for her son to watch, but Patterson said he doesn't know if the suspect saw it.

He said Parker, whose last known address is in Colton, was already wanted by federal marshals but he didn't know on what charges.

Also Tuesday night, police arrested Tyesha Rochell, 22, of Apple Valley, who officials suspect drove the getaway car after the bank robbery.

The events leading to the standoff began about 10:30 a.m. when a Wells Fargo bank in this Mojave Desert city some 65 miles northeast of Los Angeles was robbed by a gunman who sped away in a car.

Police, following leads provided by witnesses, found the suspect about a mile from the bank, where he abandoned his car and stole another one.

As he was switching cars, he exchanged gunfire with police but no one was hit.

When he arrived at the apartment, about two miles from the bank, the door was open and the father, who does not know the suspect, was out in the yard with the children inside.

Neighbors said the gunman pointed his weapon at the father and offered to share his stolen money with him, but Jennie Risley, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, said she couldn't confirm that.

The money, she said, was left behind in the car when the man fled into the apartment. She didn't know the amount.

Officials from the Sheriff's Department, FBI and California Highway Patrol were on the scene.


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