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Vol 5 No. 34 - May 11, 2005

Standoff ends with two arrests, no ‘bloodbath’

Members of the county’s SWAT team gather at the Sandpiper Mobile Home Park clubhouse in Bradenton Beach, in preparation to raid the home where suspect Elisio Saldano was hiding under a bed. Bottom, police barricaded Gulf Drive and rerouted traffic for about two hours.


By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH - A man hiding from police under a bed started a chain reaction Thursday when he threatened the officer with "bloodshed." He luckily surrendered just before the Manatee County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team was to storm the mobile home in which he was hiding.

Police blocked off Gulf Drive in front of the Sandpiper Mobile Resort, where the standoff occurred, for about two hours, forcing people to use the mainland to get from one end of the Island to the other.

Bradenton Beach police arrested Matthew L. Mitchell, 25, of Bradenton, on charges of aggravated battery, false imprisonment and obstruction, and Elisio Saldana, 24, of Tampa, on charges of aggravated assault following the incident.

It all began when police received a call of possible domestic violence around 1:52 p.m. Officer Eric Hill and Lt. John Cosby responded. They determined that Mitchell had shoved Barbie Zipperer, 16, against a wall and shaved her hair after they got into a fight at 2610 Gulf Drive, Unit 501, a mobile home owned by Zipperer's parents. They handcuffed Mitchell and went after Saldana, who had gone into a bedroom.

As Cosby kicked open the bedroom door, he observed Saldana underneath the bed. He warned Cosby not to try to get him because he had a gun and there would be bloodshed.
At that point, Cosby called for backup, including officers from Holmes Beach Police and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. Sergeant John Kenny, from the sheriff's office contingency in the city of Anna Maria, began negotiating with Saldana. He got the man to surrender just before the SWAT team was about to enter the home, according to Bradenton Beach Police Detective Len Diaz.

Diaz said Saldana did not have a gun, but he told police where there was a 45-caliber pistol. The found two other handguns in the residence. They checked the men's identities and found out they were wanted for questioning in a shooting in Tampa and one in Bradenton, and are being held at the Manatee County Jail.

Diaz said it appeared Mitchell pistol-whipped Zipperer and shaved her head. She was not arrested.

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