Newly Released Video Shows Sniper Taking Out Bank Robber Through Computer Monitor

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John Oyewale Contributor
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Video released Saturday reveals a new angle of the moments leading up to a sniper fatally shooting an armed hostage-taking bank robber in the head Feb. 6, 2024 in Fort Myers, Florida.

The robbery occurred at the Bank of America branch located near Bell Tower Shops, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO). The LCSO identified the suspect as Sterling Ramon Alavache, 36.

An LCSO Special Operations Unit (SOU) sniper can be seen training his weapon at Alavache as another officer negotiated with Alavache, the LCSO video shows. The weapon’s barrel rested on the shoulder of another officer in what Lee County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Lt. Todd Olmer described as “a team member-supported firing position,” according to the video.

The first 911 call reporting the incident claimed Alavache jumped over the counter, said he had a bomb and ordered everyone out of the bank, according to an  audio file released by the LCSO. There were also screams of “Get your head on the ground!” and “I don’t wanna shoot you!”, among other phrases.

Alavache had taken a man and a woman hostage, the LCSO said. Alavache held a female hostage in what appeared to be a headlock, according to the surveillance footage. He and the woman were partially obscured by a computer monitor from the officers’ point of view, the video shows.

“At one point during negotiations, he became physical. He began to put one of the hostages in a headlock and he had a knife to her throat,” LCSO Sheriff Carmine Marceno told reporters, the video shows.

“I might act out, too. I get it, I can empathize with that situation. Believe me, I can, okay?” the negotiator called to Alavache, according to the video. “And I want to be able to help you with that, right? As somebody else who has kids, I want to be able to help you with that. 100%. You heard me? Come on, Alavache, right? Keep talking to me. Keep talking to me. Let me know what’s going through your head right now, what concerns you have. I want to make sure you’re the most relaxed.”

Just then, the sniper fired at the suspect, according to the video. A hole appeared to blow open on the computer monitor as Alavache collapsed onto the floor as a resukt of the shot. The two hostages then ducked and fled in opposite directions. (RELATED: ‘One Attacker Took A Watch, The Other Took A Fist To The Face’: Rep. Collins Staffer Robbed At Gunpoint)

“Due to the suspect’s limited exposure, the sniper took a planned and deliberate shot through the computer monitor, striking the suspect in the center of the forehead, killing him instantly,” Lt. Olmer explained in the video.

“Firing through barriers is a trained and routinely practiced skill by [the LCSO’s SOU] snipers,” Lt. Olmer added.

“Go! Go! Go! Go!” officers could be heard saying in the video as they rushed toward Alavache.

The officers used flashbangs as they approached the fallen suspect, the video shows.

Alavache was a convicted felon with “an extensive criminal history to include drug trafficking, aggravated assault, and carrying a concealed firearm from several states,” according to the LCSO.

“How you train is how you perform, and this is exactly what we trained for,” Sheriff Marceno said. “We train for worst-case scenario[s] … This is a very unfortunate incident but I will tell you, the two hostages being safe was our top priority.”