Florida bank robber holding 2 hostages at knifepoint shot and killed by sniper during standoff: sheriff

 A suspected robber who held two people hostage at knifepoint inside a Florida bank was shot and killed by a law enforcement sniper during a tense standoff Tuesday, authorities said.

The suspect, identified by the Lee County Sheriff's Office as Sterling Ramon Alavache, 36, had a lengthy criminal history that included drug trafficking, aggravated assault and carrying a concealed gun from multiple states, authorities said.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told reporters with the FBI that deputies responded to the Bank of America, located near the Bell Tower Shoppes in Fort Myers, just after 11 a.m. following a call about a bank robber taking several people hostage. Answered the branch.

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As deputies ran inside the bank to secure the area, dozens of people ran outside, Marcano said.

Marceno said there were two hostages in Alavache and officers tried to initiate negotiations. At one point, he allegedly put one of the hostages in a headlock and held a knife to his throat.

"When he showed that kind of lethal force, our SWAT sniper shot and killed the suspect," Marceno said. “We were afraid for his life and his safety.”

He said both hostages were safe. The SWAT sniper will be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting.

Marceno later said in a statement posted on social media, "It is a sad day when innocent lives are put in danger because of the senseless actions of others." “My family members were faced with a difficult decision today to neutralize an active threat to the public during a very volatile situation.

"Let this serve as a reminder of how important it is to remain vigilant. I'm very grateful that no victims or my team were injured today."

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