Visalia police detail dramatic rescue of woman held hostage by boyfriend for nearly 9 hours

News

In the South Valley, a very scary situation. Visalia Police say a man is behind bars after a hostage standoff that lasted for hours. 
Police say the suspect, in this case, is 32-year-old Jonathan Soto.
Officers say Soto threatened to kill his girlfriend, holding a screwdriver to her neck. 
It took a little more than nine hours before the SWAT Team was able to move in and rescued the victim. 
But neighbors just one house over captured all the moments on cell phone video.
That video shows the moment the SWAT Team arrived on Hillcrest Drive.
Neighbors say the area was out on lock-down.
“Cop cars all over the place and individuals dressing from their trunks, from the trunk of the car pulling out their gear and putting it on,” says Raymond Ruiz, a neighbor.
Police say it all started as a domestic dispute. Officers say other adults were in the home and called the police and reported that Soto was holding a screwdriver to the victim’s neck. 
Officers say those inside, including children, managed to escape, but say Soto barricaded himself inside a bedroom with his girlfriend.
“Over the span of about a nine-hour period negotiations continued, they were able to keep constant contact with him, verbal contact with him and on a few occasions they were able to have some communication with a female as well,” says Sgt. Kevin Kroeze, Visalia Police Department.
Cell phone video shows officers, guns drawn, run across the yard and more officer surrounded the backyard. 
Detectives say after obtaining a search warrant, they were able to cut power to the house and the SWAT Team moved in. 
“Jonathan Soto was choking the female and was using her as a human shield to prevent officers from trying to get near him,” says Kroeze.
Police say Soto acted as if he had a weapon, holding his hand to the victim’s head, but officers determined he did not.
That’s when police say SWAT officers used physical force to take Soto down and rescue the victim safely. 
The video shows the moment they took him into custody. 
Police say two officers sustained minor cuts during the rescue but say thanks, all including the victim, are ok. 
Investigators say Soto has a history of domestic violence. He’s facing a number of felony charges. 
Detectives say Soto is booked at the Tulare County Pre-trial facility and being held on $60,000 bond. 
 

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