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Hostage Situation a False Alarm

March 28, 2000|MATT SURMAN

Police blocked off several Simi Valley streets Monday in response to a suspected hostage situation that turned out to be a false alarm.

Authorities received a call at about 11:30 a.m. from a person living nearby suggesting that an armed man was holding a woman hostage in the 1000 block of Pacific Avenue near 1st Street, and responded with a SWAT team, which circled the house for about an hour.

Police shut down nearly a block of 1st Street and several side streets near Los Angeles Avenue.

The residents of the house did not respond to attempts to contact them face-to-face, but were reached on the telephone. When the woman left the house at about 1 p.m., she told police that she wanted to go back in and talk to her boyfriend, Lt. Neal Rein said.

"She wasn't injured and we had no justification to proceed," said Rein. No one was charged.

Neighbors said the couple had been seen arguing throughout the week. A relative of the woman who lives in a house on the same property as the couple apparently misinterpreted a comment by the woman and called police.

Area residents were asked by SWAT members to evacuate the area or stay inside their homes, and the SWAT team raced down the street and through backyards.

"It's stressful to see guns pointed at the house," said neighbor Cheryl Scott. "I realize they need to be safe, but they've made it very scary."

Police say that such techniques are necessary in case the incident turns out to be very dangerous.

"We have to take it on face value based on the information we receive," said Rein. "We're very fortunate that turned out not to be the case."

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