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Man arrested after taking family hostage

With heavily armed SWAT officers surrounding his Franklin-Beachwood area home, 28-year-old Robin Giron gave up without a struggle Monday afternoon, nearly three hours after what began as a domestic violence call had escalated into a full-scale hostage drama.

Giron's wife and her 13-year-old sister managed to escape unhurt from the White Birch Court home, telling sheriff's deputies that he was armed. The incident began at 11:53 a.m. and ended about 2:40 p.m. when Giron walked out his garage door and was detained.

Giron was booked into Merced County Jail on charges of making terrorist threats and false imprisonment. He remained jailed Monday night in lieu of $70,000 bail, according to a correctional official.

Sgt. Vern Warnke said Giron had been arrested previously on charges of possession of a loaded firearm, burglary and receiving stolen property, setting up the armed SWAT response.

About 40 sheriff's deputies, including 15 SWAT officers, were deployed to the neighborhood, about a quarter-mile from Joe Stefani School, which was locked down until Giron was arrested.

Warnke said Giron had the potential to be violent, setting up the process of waiting until he surrendered. He said the objective was to do all that could be done for a peaceful outcome.

"It ended the way it should have," Warnke said, "and nobody got hurt, not even the bad guy."

Sheriff's officers learned the 13-year-old had sent text messages on her cell telephone advising the ongoing domestic dispute between her sister and Giron had gotten worse and they weren't allowed to leave the house.

As about 15 helmeted SWAT officers, clad in full olive drab green uniforms with multiple weapons, surrounded the home on a cul-de-sac, the two women walked out of the house. Giron, who had been drinking heavily during the day, was believed to have passed out on the floor inside the home.

Repeated telephone calls to the residence went unanswered and a loud public address message every 30 seconds urging Giron to give up also went unheeded. Starting about 2:20 p.m., three "flash bang" diversionary devices were detonated, making loud explosions. Sirens also wailed nearby to catch Giron's attention. Sgt. Jim Pacheco was on hand to act as a Spanish-language translator but Giron was never reached on the telephone.

With its control unit positioned more than a block away in a fifth-wheel trailer on Fir Avenue, the department's armored-plated remote-control robot was positioned in front of the Giron residence, its television camera focusing on the front door and a nearby window. The robot was called back and a pointed 5-foot-long titanium probe with a TV camera was added to penetrate the front door just before Giron surrendered.

Giron's estranged wife and her sister retrieved a sword with a razor-sharp blade when they left the home hours earlier. As they left the sheriff's mobile command post when the incident was over, neither appeared to be injured.

Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman, said the jail's medical staff would examine Giron during the booking process.

Escorted by two SWAT officers, the handcuffed Giron, clad in a white T-shirt and pajama bottoms, walked about a half-block where he was frisked and placed in the back of a patrol car. He appeared to be wailing and crying as he was led away from the house.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at

(209) 385-2485 or

dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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