A domestic dispute closed a section of Rumble Road in front of Sylvan Elementary School for hours Saturday as police tried to negotiate with a man believed to be armed. Neighbors said this type of problem has become far too common in recent years.
Modesto police officer Chris Adams said a woman called for help about 1 p.m. while fighting with her husband in their duplex apartment in the 1300 block of Rumble Road, east of Delta Avenue. The standoff was ongoing at 7 p.m.
The wife, whom Adams did not identify, managed to escape before officers arrived, he said. She told officers no one else was in the home but that her husband had a gun.
Police closed off several blocks of Rumble and Woodside Drive behind the house, telling neighbors to stay inside and lock their doors, said Taylor Hakola, at a home on Elgin Way.
None of the neighbors reported hearing gunshots, but an ambulance was standing by, along with police cruisers at every intersection. A SWAT unit and crisis response negotiators were in place by evening, Adams said.
"We're not going to walk away," Adams said, adding that the plan was to contain the danger and continue to negotiate. "We're hoping for a peaceful resolution."
Adams said police had been able to communicate with the man electronically and by using a public address system. He had no estimate of when neighbors would be allowed in or out of their homes.
By 3 p.m., India Kerr was worried about her dog, still inside her Woodside Drive home behind the duplex involved.
"These things happen a lot more than we'd care to stay around for," she said. "That's why we're leaving town." Kerr and her husband are moving to Merced County, she said.
Jason Hoffman, visiting relatives around the corner on Delta Avenue, a street of identical duplexes, said the area has gone downhill.
"A couple of years ago it was never like this. It was like 'Leave it to Beaver,' " he said.
A few doors down, Wilson Lazar was packing up his garage sale mid-afternoon. With yellow tape closing all but a circuitous back route to his street, he said there was no point to continuing the sale.
Bee staff writer Nan Austin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2339.