Police: Atwater man arrested after threating 80-year-old mom, standoff

A 50-year-old Atwater man who allegedly threatened to kill his mother and to beat police officers with a sledgehammer was arrested Thursday after a 30-minute standoff, the Atwater Police Department reported.

Thomas King also allegedly threatened to shoot police if they came to his home, Sgt. Dick Wisdom said.

King’s vehicle was impounded by police earlier this week when he was cited for driving without a license, police said.

On Wednesday night, police said, King demanded money from his 80-year-old mother to get his vehicle back and threatened to kill her when she declined. King lives with his mother at a home in the 600 block of San Joaquin Court.

“He told her he would kill her and make it look like an accident, like she fell down,” Wisdom said. “She was clearly very terrified.”

About 9:30 a.m. Thursday, another family member called the home and heard “yelling and screaming” and was afraid for the woman’s safety, police said.

King called the Police Department a short time later and threatened to shoot at police if they approached his home, he said.

“He told his mother he would assault us with a sledgehammer,” Wisdom said.

Police contacted King again a short time later by cellphone and after 30 minutes of negotiating, he surrendered peacefully, police said.

King was eventually booked at the Merced County jail on suspicion of extortion, attempted robbery, false imprisonment of a dependent adult, making criminal threats and threatening police. He was still in custody Thursday night. Bail was set at $165,200.