Suspect arrested after SWAT standoff at Clairemont Mesa bank - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Suspect arrested after SWAT standoff at Clairemont Mesa bank

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Police say the suspect is 35-year-old Michael Eschwege seen in this video screen image. Police say the suspect is 35-year-old Michael Eschwege seen in this video screen image.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A man is in custody after a robbery and standoff at a Clairemont Mesa bank. The hold-up was reported just after 1:00 p.m. Monday at the Chase Bank in the 5800 block of Balboa Avenue.

Police responded to this bank robbery within minutes and when they arrived suspect was just sitting there.

“As the teller was walking them towards the entrance way, the teller said wow, there's the suspect, he's in the lobby area,” said Captain Jerry Hara with the San Diego Police Department. “The officers immediately drew their firearms to challenge the suspect. The suspect actually stood up very quickly and reached for his waistband. And said I have a gun, I have a gun.”

A standoff ensued with dozens of police and FBI agents. Employees and customers stayed behind the bullet proof glass.

“Ten, 15 cops, you had FBI here. They came out with AR-10's, Mack 10s, masks, looked like one guy had tear gas in his hands,” said Eddie Bagdasar.

Eddie Bagdasar was in the bank, but forgot his wallet.

“So I came out and got a phone call. Then these cops came and hauled butt over here. So I said ok, I'm guessing I'm not going to go back in the bank,” he continued.

Police say the suspect is 35-year-old Michael Eschwege and that his gun was actually an airsoft gun. After 30 minutes they were able to get him to surrender. Authorities also say it appears money wasn't his main objective - rather suicide by cop, which is why he shouted he had a gun and reached for his waist.

“When we first got here, he seemed really nervous like someone who wanted to do suicide by cop. When someone points out there's the bank robber that’s shows us he means business,” explained Captain Hara.

Police demonstrated restraint in a dangerous situation that ended up saving this suspect’s life.

“They were ready. And stuff looked like it was going to go down. If he started firing they were ready to end his life,” said Bagdasar.

Police did not release how much money was stolen, but did say it has all been returned to the bank.


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