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Sniper kills robber holding hostages at knifepoint at south Fort Myers Bank of America

<i></i><br/>A sniper killed Sterling Alavache
Lawrence, Nakia

A sniper killed Sterling Alavache

By Web Staff

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    SOUTH FORT MYERS, Florida (WBBH) — One man is dead and two hostages are free after a tense situation and standoff at a south Fort Myers Bank Tuesday afternoon.

In a confrontation inside the Bank of America at Bell Tower along US-41, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, alongside FBI agents, responded to the report of an armed robbery incident.

Outside the bank, deputies shut down US-41, causing serious traffic backups in the area.

The situation escalated inside the bank, where the suspect, Sterling Alavache, 36, is now dead, took two people hostage, according to Sheriff Carmine Marceno.

Video shows the moments of tense negotiations between a deputy and Alavache in the bank lobby.

NBC2 spoke with a witness who was inside the bank and recounted the moment when they say a young man leaped over the counter, claiming to possess a bomb.

The building was evacuated and the property managers said anywhere from 80-100 people work inside the building.

Sheriff Marceno said Alavache resorted to violence, holding one hostage in a headlock while holding a knife at her throat.

A SWAT team sniper fired at Alavache, resulting in his death.

Brett Sands said he has worked on the 5th floor of the building for more than a decade as an engineer for a private consulting firm. He said, “It wasn’t until the police came and started banging on doors that we realized that it was something more serious than just someone coming and threatening to rob the bank.”

Sands was one of the many employees inside who said they had to take an Uber home because their car was still there past this yellow tape. Property management has told NBC2 that the building is closed for the rest of the day and most likely the majority of tomorrow.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that the involved deputy sniper has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol following such incidents.

Alavache had a lengthy criminal history, including three prior arrests in Charlotte County. In 2017, he was arrested on numerous charges, including theft and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. In 2019, he was jailed twice for criminal mischief and trespassing.

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