Published November 17, 2014
A police standoff with an armed man who reported having explosives in his vehicle briefly halted traffic on Northern California's busiest bridge during Thursday's morning commute.
Craig Carlos-Valentino, described by authorities as mentally unstable, called 911 around 7 a.m. after pulling over on the upper deck of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and threatened to blow it up, California Highway Patrol investigators said.
Authorities halted all westbound traffic on the upper deck as officers negotiated with the man, who could be seen standing outside his SUV talking on a cell phone.
His 16-year-old daughter managed to escape from the vehicle during the hourlong standoff.
Highway Patrol Sgt. Trent Cross said Carlos-Valentino, an emergency medical technician from Antioch, reported being upset over a family issue. He brandished a gun, then threw it over the railing into the water.
After persuading him to surrender, officers passed him a pair of handcuffs and he put them on and turned himself in, Cross said. Authorities found no explosives in the SUV.
A check of his home in Antioch also found no bombs or bomb-making material, CHP Officer Shawn Chase said. His wife was there and was unharmed.
Carlos-Valentino, 51, was booked in San Francisco on suspicion of brandishing a weapon, making criminal threats and child endangerment, among other charges, Chase said.
The man's sister, Viviana Carlos of Sacramento, told the Contra Costa Times that her brother sent a text message minutes before the standoff saying he had killed himself because he believed his wife had an affair.
The CHP reopened some westbound lanes shortly after 8 a.m., though traffic remained snarled throughout the morning. Eastbound lanes on the lower desk were kept open during the incident.
An average of 280,000 motorists use the Bay Bridge each day.