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Salinas standoff ends in empty house

Modified: Tuesday, Apr 2nd, 2013

SALINAS — A tense 10-hour standoff between an armed man and Salinas police ended Monday night when police stormed a home and discovered the place was empty.

Cmdr. Henry Gomez said police initially responded to 45 Sherwood Drive near Cherry Drive at 10 a.m. They believed Delbert Robles, 27, was holed up inside the home alone.

Robles allegedly broke a window at the residence and illegally entered the home. Police said he was distraught over a recent break-up with his girlfriend. On Monday morning a janitorial cleaning crew entered the home thinking it was empty, Gomez said. When they confronted Robles he reportedly aimed a gun at them and they retreated, unharmed, and called police. Robles had reportedly lived at the home but had been evicted.

After evacuating a number of homes and shutting down a large portion of Sherwood Drive, police surrounded the home with guns drawn. Police used a loud public address system to try to verbally convince Robles to surrender. A negotiator was called in and even a few relatives who pleaded with Robles over the public address system to surrender peacefully.

After no response, the SWAT team was summoned. After several more hours, police lobbed in teargas, Gomez said. With still no response, SWAT officers made entry and determined Robles was not inside the residence.

“It appears he fled out the back door moments before the perimeter was established,” Gomez said. “Robles, who was previously a tenant, did not have permission to be inside. He is wanted for brandishing a weapon, trespassing, and violation of probation.

Since police shut down Sherwood Drive from Market Street to Rossi Street for the entire episode traffic became a serious logjam. Sherwood is a critical Salinas artery.

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