Sterling Ramon Alavache was an American man who stormed a Fort Myers Bank of America for an armed robbery and was killed by a sniper.
Lee County Sherif Deputies were called to the Fort Myers Bank of America located on US-41, sometime around noon Tuesday.
A man had taken over the bank with weapons and claimed he had a bomb!
The FBI and SWAT also arrived to provide backup but the situation inside escalated as Lee grew more erratic.
After he threatened to killed a member of the public, a SWAT team sniper took a shot and took out the supect, Sterling Ramon Alavache.
Who was Sterling Ramon Alavache?
Sterling Ramon Alavache was a 36-year-old American male who was shot and killed whilst attempting to rob a Fort Myers Bank of America in February 2024.
Sterling Ramon Alavache had a criminal record dating back to 2008.
He was reportedly from New York and moved to Florida about a decade ago.
Sterling Ramon Alavache had been convicted of several felonies, including drug trafficking, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Alavache had reportedly served time in prison and was on probation at the time of the incident. His motive for the attempted robbery is unclear.
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On February 6, 2024, at around 11 a.m., Sterling Ramon Alavache, armed with a knife and claiming to have a bomb, entered the Bank of America building near the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers, Florida.
He took several hostages, including bank employees and customers, and demanded money from the bank. He also threatened to detonate the bomb if his demands were not met.
According to witnesses, Sterling Alavache jumped on the counter and shouted that he had a bomb.
He then grabbed a female employee and put her in a headlock, holding a knife to her throat.
He also held another hostage, a male customer, at knifepoint. He ordered everyone else to leave the bank or he would kill them.
Authorities identified the suspect as Sterling Ramon Alavache, a 36-year-old convicted felon with a history of drug trafficking, aggravated assault, and firearms charges.
He had lived in Punta Gorda, Florida, but his current residence was unknown.
Sterling Alavache prompted a swift police response.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) responded to the scene within minutes and established a perimeter around the bank.
They evacuated the nearby businesses and blocked the traffic on US Highway 41.
They also activated the SWAT team and the bomb squad, and began negotiations with Alavache.
Sheriff Carmine Marceno said that the negotiators tried to calm Alavache down and persuade him to release the hostages and surrender peacefully.
However, Alavache refused to cooperate and became increasingly agitated and violent. He also made several false claims, such as having accomplices outside the bank and having planted bombs in other locations.
After about an hour of negotiations, Alavache escalated the situation by becoming physical with the female hostage.
He tightened his grip on her neck and pressed the knife against her throat, threatening to kill her.
At that point, a SWAT sniper shot and killed Alavache, ending the standoff. The hostages were freed and taken to a safe location. No one else was injured in the incident.
The LCSO said that Alavache did not have a bomb, but rather a fake device made of wires and duct tape.
They also said that he did not have any accomplices or other bombs. They praised the SWAT sniper for taking the “heroic” and “life-saving” shot that saved the hostages and prevented further harm.
The deputy who killed Alavache was placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation, which is normal department policy.
The LCSO, the FBI, and the State Attorney’s Office are conducting a joint investigation into the incident.
Official reaction to Sterling Alavache shooting
Authorities have defended the shooting of Sterling Ramon Alavache as a justified and necessary use of force.
They said that the SWAT sniper followed the protocol and the training for such situations, and that he acted to protect the lives of the hostages and the public.
Sheriff Marceno said that the sniper had a clear shot and a clear view of Alavache and the hostages.
He said that the sniper waited for the right moment and the right opportunity to take the shot, and that he did not endanger anyone else.
He said that the sniper had no other option, as Alavache was about to kill the hostage and possibly detonate the bomb.
Marceno also said that the negotiators did everything they could to resolve the situation peacefully, but that Alavache was not responsive or reasonable.
He said that Alavache was unpredictable and irrational, and that he posed an imminent threat to everyone. He said that the negotiators followed the best practices and the guidelines for hostage situations, and that they tried to establish rapport and trust with Alavache.
The FBI and the State Attorney’s Office are reviewing the shooting and the investigation to determine whether it was lawful and appropriate. They have not released any official statements or findings yet.
Reactions to Fort Myers Bank of America robbery and lessons to be learned
The Fort Myers Bank of America robbery perpetrated by Sterling Ramon Alavache and the shooting have generated a lot of public and social media reaction, both locally and nationally.
Many people have expressed their shock, sadness, and anger over the incident.
Some have praised the LCSO and the SWAT sniper for their bravery and professionalism. Others have questioned the use of lethal force and the handling of the situation.
Some have also commented on the suspect’s background and the state of mental health and crime prevention in the country.
Some examples of public and social media reaction are:
“I’m so glad that the hostages are safe and that no one else was hurt. Thank you to the LCSO and the SWAT team for their quick and decisive action. They saved lives today and they deserve our respect and gratitude.”
“This is what happens when you have easy access to guns and drugs, and no access to mental health care and social services. This is a failure of our system and our society. We need to do better to prevent these things from happening, not just react to them after they happen.”
Potential lessons to be learned from the Sterling Ramon Alavache incident are…
The public should be aware of the potential dangers and risks of being in public places, such as banks, where they could be targeted by criminals or terrorists.
They should also be prepared to cooperate with the authorities and follow their instructions in case of an emergency. They should also be supportive and respectful of the victims and the heroes who risk their lives to save them.
Law enforcement should be trained and equipped to deal with such situations, using the best practices and the guidelines for hostage situations.
They should also be transparent and accountable for their actions, and cooperate with the investigations and the oversight.
They should also be recognized and rewarded for their bravery and professionalism.
Political authorities should be responsible and responsive to the needs and the concerns of the public and the law enforcement.
They should also be proactive and preventive, addressing the root causes and the factors that contribute to such incidents, such as mental health, crime, and violence.
They should also be supportive and protective of the rights and the well-being of the public and the law enforcement.
Bank of America Fort Myers
The Bank of America building near the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers is one of the 3656 offices of the bank and has been serving the financial needs of its customers in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida since 1989.
It offers a range of banking services, such as checking and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans, and investments. It also has a drive-up facility and an ATM.
The bank is located at 13099 US Highway 41 S.E., adjacent to the Bell Tower Shops, a popular shopping and entertainment destination in Fort Myers.
The bank is open from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and closed on weekends and holidays.11
The bank has not been involved in any major incidents or controversies before the attempted robbery and the shooting. It has a good reputation and a loyal customer base in the area.
It has also supported various community and charitable causes, such as education, health, and environmental initiatives.
Thank you for reading
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