Visalia SWAT rescue hostage in 9-hour standoff

Man held screwdriver to woman’s neck on Hillcrest St. before being rescued by SWAT


VISALIA – Visalia officers spent more than nine hours trying to talk an assailant down before breaking down the door for a rescue.

Jonathan Soto
32 years old

According to the Visalia Police Department, officers responded to the 2800 block of E. Hillcrest at 4:00 p.m. on a call for a family disturbance. During the incident, Jonathan Soto, 32, produced a screwdriver and held it to the victim’s neck and made threats to harm her. When this occurred, other occupants inside the home, including children, fled from inside to safety. Soto then barricaded himself inside a bedroom of the residence, while keeping the victim as a hostage.

The VPD Crisis Negotiation Team and SWAT team responded and immediately began negotiations with Soto. At approximately 1 a.m., after 9 hours of negotiations failed to get Soto to surrender, the SWAT Team entered the bedroom to find Soto choking the victim.

Officers were able to safely rescue the victim and take Soto into custody. The victim nor Soto were injured during the rescue. During the incident, Soto made comments of possessing a firearm; however, no firearm was found nor was he in possession of the screwdriver during his arrest. Two officers received minor lacerations during the entry and rescue.

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