Spanish Officer Negotiated with Suspect, Businesses Watched Ordeal Unfold

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

The standoff re-routed Highway 14 traffic for nearly four hours this morning. The suspect surrendered during rush hour but investigators stayed on the scene gathering evidence. Police not only needed to calm a distraught man, but they needed officers who speak Spanish. One Madison police officer answered that call while dozens of others kept traffic at a safe distance.

Store manager Adrienne Eberl says, "My first instinct was who broke into the store."
Eberl arrived at work around 7:15 this morning to find police in every direction with guns drawn.

"We had to stay behind the trucks over there ... Obviously they're steel. They didn't want any stray bullets to fly, so we stayed over there all morning," Eberl says, forcing Eberl to open her store 45 minutes late.

"There's always somebody waiting to get in at 8 o'clock," she says. But police say safety takes priority. "There was probably 30 cops we could count that we saw all over the place," she says.

Police say at 8:15 Friday morning Marco Gomez-Vazquez surrendered emerging from his SUV without injuries to himself or the dozens of officers who surrounded him.

"When these things happen they're very fluid and there's several officers involved and supervisors on scene," officer Carlos Valentin says.

Officer Valentin was one of the officers on the phone with the suspect. Valentin speaks Spanish, like the suspect. "He needed to realize that we could talk about things, but using a weapon to do try to demand things at that point, the issue, weapon could hurt someone," Valentin says.

Valentin says police need to engage individuals in conversation to get them to give up the weapon and themselves. But he says, it also takes communication among officers to coordinate a peaceful end.

"Deploying spikes is not something that just happens ... there are officers ahead ... we're monitoring route that this pursuit is taking."

Police say the 25-minute pursuit reached high speeds until officers deployed spikes and fired shots at the tires.

"What kind of traffic we're encountering ... are we approaching an area that's heavily populated ... all of those things are going to minds of everybody involved," he says.

Eberl says she "wasn't concerned for my safety at all."

The suspect faces three felony charges. They are first degree reckless endangering safety, attempting to elude officers and failure to comply with officers. The suspect also faces a disorderly conduct charge in Middleton.

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