Police officials in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Pittsburg had “no choice but to shoot and kill a 20-year-old man with a history of mental illness who had held his mother hostage at gunpoint,” according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. When two snipers from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office observed the suspect pointing a handgun at the head of his own mother as she knelt in front of him, they each placed shots on the target, ending the threat.

The suspect — whose name has not yet been released but who according to reports was a known gang member convicted of a 2009 robbery — began the incident by holding his 48-year-old mother hostage and barricading himself into an apartment at about 1330 hours on Friday May 7th. The suspect reportedly threatened to shoot his mother, himself, and any officers who tried to enter. Police evacuated the area as SWAT teams surrounded the apartment complex. The standoff lasted just under 30 hours, ending at around 1730 hours Saturday evening. The suspect was reportedly wanted on an arrest warrant for violating his probation.

Pittsburg police Lt. Brian Addington told the Contra Costa County Times that the suspect “was clearly suicidal, and as negotiations progressed, there was a potential for him to become homicidal. His behavior became increasingly agitated at the end. What changed the dynamics is when he turned the gun on his mother.”

“This clearly was a difficult situation that required a difficult decision,” said SWAT Columnist Dan Marcou in a conversation with PoliceOne, “The suspect had a choice and made his choice to endanger his mother, which left the officers with no choice. They did what they were trained to do and were clearly the best people to bring this worst case scenario to an end.”

Source: Senior Editor Doug Wyllie for

Up Next

After Arizona, 10 states are considering immigration bills.

Police officials in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Pittsburg had “no choice…