Antioch man Craig Carlos-Valentino, 51, was arrested this morning after a standoff in which he stopped his SUV on the upper deck of Bay Bridge west of Treasure island and threatened to commit suicide, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.
Carlos-Valentino then called local radio station KCBS saying he was on the bridge with his daughter and had explosives and a gun, CHP Sgt. Trent Cross said.
After hanging up with KCBS, Carlos-Valentino called 911 and told emergency dispatchers the same thing, Cross said.
CHP officers responded and blocked off traffic. At that point, Carlos-Valentino got out of the car, brandished a handgun and pointed it in the air, then got back into the vehicle, Cross said.
He then took the handgun and tossed off the bridge and into the water below. Minutes later, his 16-year-old daughter ran from the car and was taken safely into custody by authorities.
“He told her to leave and that he loved her,” Cross said.
The daughter was uninjured but “a little shaken up,” he said.
Carlos-Valentino then got out of the car again and started talking about marital problems, saying his wife of more than 20 years was having an affair, according to Cross.
He started calling family members, and discussed committing suicide “to be with his mother and brother,” Cross said.
He climbed over the rail on the side of the bridge, but a negotiating team from the San Francisco Police Department was able to convince him to step away from the ledge and took him into custody at about 8 a.m., Cross said.
Although traffic was snarled for the morning commute, “when you look at the totality of the circumstances, it could’ve been a lot worse,” Cross said. “No one was killed, and no one was injured. That’s a success for us.”
Carlos-Valentino was arrested on suspicion of felony criminal threats, felony endangerment and brandishing a firearm, and is being booked into San Francisco County Jail, Cross said.
Photo of Carlos-Valentino: Bay City News
10:20 AM: According to CHP spokesperson Officer Shawn Chase, the suspect was “very apologetic…about everything that happened.” I’ll bet!
Chase also clarified that the suspect was a former “first responder volunteer” and that he should not have had the emergency lightbar on his vehicle “anymore.” He was also, they say, a security guard at one time. No word yet on his current profession.
Chase said the suspect admitted that he had “some type of weapon” that he tossed over the rail of the bridge, but said it wasn’t a “real” weapon, and was, perhaps, a pellet gun.
According to the Chron, during the standoff, the suspect “sat on the railing at times and, at one point, brought one of his legs over the rail” and that he told KCBS radio “My wife’s been cheating on me and she’s going to leave me and I can’t handle it anymore.”
9:30 AM: According to KRON4 broadcast, the suspect, a man in his 50s from Antioch, is a former Red Cross “First Responder.”
He was reportedly distraught because, he says (via CHP), his wife was unfaithful to him and planning on leaving him.
While East Bay traffic is still a mess, it’s moving smoothly on the Bay Bridge.
9:15 AM: According to KRON4 broadcast, who is on the scene near the SUV driven by the suspect in this morning’s standoff with police that closed the Bay Bridge, the suspect’s vehicle has a sticker on the front windshield and a license plate holder that both say “First Responder.”
This fits in interestingly with KTVU’s observations that the SUV had police light bars on the inside. According to Wikipedia, so, yeah, a “First Responder” can be a pretty vague term, referring either to people who’ve taken a class, or a “generic term referring to the first medically trained responder to arrive on scene (police, fire, EMS).”
9 AM: Traffic has resumed on the upper deck Bay Bridge, and the toll plaza has reopened. Given the massive backups on East Bay freeways, though, people are still going to be seriously late for work. Avoiding the Bay Bridge still seems like a good plan.
On an unrelated note: CHP spokesperson Officer Trent Cross, speaking at a press conference, confirms that the suspect, whom Cross describes as “truly mentally unstable” was accompanied by his 16 year old daughter, before releasing her to police custody.
8:45 AM: The toll plaza remains closed at the Bay Bridge, though the bridge has been cleared.
The 5th Street offramp from the Bridge is also closed — that’s apparently where the SFPD has taken the suspect’s SUV, which according to broadcast reports, police have parked the vehicle to investigate it further.
According to CHP spokesperson Officer Trent Cross, the car seems to be clear of explosives, and now officers are performing a “bridge check” to make sure it’s safe for traffic. Once the check is completed, the tool plaza will reopen.
8:35 PM: Looks like police decided the suspect’s SUV was OK — I’m watching KTVU broadcasting what they say is a police officer driving the suspect’s car off the bridge.
KTVU noted something interesting — they say that the suspect’s SUV was equipped with those internal police light bars you see in unmarked cars. What’s up with that? That’s something I’m sure everyone in the media will keep their eye on.
Though the car’s off the bridge, the upper deck seems to remain closed from all broadcast reports. However, Alert SF just sent a message saying “The public safety issue on the Bay Bridge has been resolved and the upper deck (west bound) is now re-opened to traffic.” We shall see!
8:19 AM: Traffic that was halted on the upper deck of the Bay Bridge during the standoff is now being allowed to pass the crime scene, but the toll plaza remains closed.
8:10 AM: Police have taken the suspect safely into custody, however, the bridge has yet to reopen.
According to CHP, they got a call at 6:58 this morning from a person they say was threatening to commit suicide on the bridge, perhaps using an explosive. They say the suspect had a passenger in the car, who is also safely into custody.
Since threats of explosives were made, the bomb squad continues to investigate the suspect’s vehicle, a black SUV, so the upper deck of the bridge remains closed and traffic into San Francisco remains halted. There’s no estimate on when traffic will resume as, as a CHP spokesperson said, “bomb technicians take a very slow and methodical approach.”
Eastbound traffic hasn’t been halted. When asked why, given the threat of explosives, traffic on the lower deck continued, a CHP spokesperson told KTVU broadcast that the reports of explosives weren’t “completely confirmed.”
7:50 AM: According to broadcast reports, a standoff involving a suspect, SFPD, and the SFPD bomb squad has stopped traffic on the upper deck of the Bay Bridge.
All traffic has been stopped on the bridge, according to CHP.
According to KTVU, at about 7:10 this morning a “driver who was distraught” claiming he had a gun and explosives stopped on the bridge. Both the bomb squad and an SFPD negotiator are reportedly on the scene.
Meanwhile, many westbound motorists are stuck on the bridge. Some were getting out of their cars and walking around on the span.
Bay City News contributed to this report.