PETALUMA (BCN) — A Santa Rosa man suspected of assaulting a bank customer was arrested Wednesday evening after allegedly engaging in a standoff with SWAT team members at a Petaluma motel, police said.
Santa Rosa resident Christian Valdes, 31, allegedly attacked a patron outside the Westamerica Bank on McDowell Boulevard before holing up in an empty room at the Petaluma Best Western Inn across the street, police said.
The victim, a 62-year-old Petaluma man, was in the bank around 2 p.m. when he and other patrons allegedly saw Valdes acting strangely and not approaching any teller windows, police said.
He didn’t appear to be doing any business at the bank, which is located at 203 S. McDowell Blvd.
When the victim left the bank to use an ATM outside, Valdes allegedly followed and attacked him, police said.
The victim was punched several times before employees inside noticed the assault and came out to help, police said.
The suspect ran, and a fixed blade knife was found on the ground where the attack occurred, police said.
The victim was not stabbed, but police believe the suspect had the knife during the assault. The victim received medical treatment for his injuries and was released.
Witnesses reported seeing the suspect run into a vacant room at the Best Western motel across the street, police said.
Officers tried unsuccessfully to contact him, and a SWAT team and Hostage Negotiations Team were called in to handle the situation.
Several hours later, Valdes allegedly attempted to leave the room but refused to comply with SWAT orders, police said.
Police used a canine unit to subdue him, and he was taken into custody by SWAT officers.
Valdes was taken to Petaluma Valley Hospital and treated for bite wounds before being taken to Sonoma County jail.
He was booked on $40,000 bail for attempted robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest.
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