Man holds woman, toddler hostage at Tampa hotel, tries to set room on fire
TAMPA, Fla. [WFLA] – A man held two family members hostage for more than eight hours at a Tampa hotel on Monday morning, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
At around 11:15 a.m. deputies received a call that Victor Rodriguez, 53, had barricaded himself inside a room with a woman and a toddler at the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel. The person who called 911 said he was armed, deputies reported.
SWAT and crisis negotiation teams arrived on scene to deescalate the situation. Sheriff Chad Chronister said they tried to make contact but couldn’t get in touch with the suspect or the family members.
“We attempted to provide them with a phone, he refused to take any type of phone at all – again, would only yell out certain obscenities or little comments that he would make throughout the night,” Chronister said. “This subject was extremely, extremely agitated.”
At one point, Rodriguez shot his gun inside the hotel room and tried to set the room on fire, according to HCSO. Deputies saw smoke coming out of the room.
The sheriff said the suspect also shot at the SWAT team that was trying to make contact with him, “intentionally trying to strike one of them.”
“Matter of fact, one of our SWAT team members – from some type of, we believe from the fragment of the bullet – was struck in the face and has a minor laceration to his face,” Chronister said. “Luckily, that’s the extent of the injury here today.”
Rodriguez peacefully surrendered after eight and a half hours. He appeared to be visiting with his family from North Carolina.
He is facing charges for false imprisonment and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.
EMT’s evaluated the 2-year-old and the woman. Both are doing OK, according to HCSO.
Sheriff Chronister gave kudos to his team, most of whom had just come from WrestleMania and had been up for more than 24 hours.
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