CMPD: Heat exhaustion brought 9-hour standoff to an end

CMPD: Heat exhaustion brought 9-hour standoff to an end

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A man wanted on suspicion of strangulation and assault in a domestic violence case surrendered to police after a nearly nine-hour standoff Thursday, authorities said.

Police said members of the SWAT team were attempting to serve a warrant to Luis Pineda-Acheta when the standoff began.

Pineda-Acheta is charged with assault by strangulation, first-degree kidnapping, assault on a female, domestic violence protective order violation and communicating threats.

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Chopper 9 Skzyoom flew over a neighborhood in south Charlotte just before noon while the SWAT standoff was underway.

Dozens of patrol cars could be seen lining Sharonbrook Drive off Sharon Road West.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officials said close to 50 officers worked the scene at one point or another.

Officers asked people to avoid the area during the SWAT situation.

“It was kind of, you know, a little nerve-wracking. We actually heard this big boom. We don’t know what that was. If they knocked the door down or anything," neighbor Lexus Terry said.

CMPD Lt. Jesus Rendon said that after hours of trying to get Pineda-Acheta to come out on his own, SWAT team members went in.

“SWAT had to force the doors open and do a room-by-room search and eventually located him, placed him in handcuffs,” Rendon said.

Rendon said Pineda-Acheta was hiding in a space behind a fireplace in one of the units at the Aurea Station apartments.

As temperatures soared into the upper 80s and with the humidity climbing as well, Pineda-Acheta became so overheated that he needed to be treated for heat exhaustion.

Johnson Lowe is one of dozens of residents who had to evacuate on during the standoff. He told Channel 9 reporter Stephanie Tinoco he actually knows the suspect and lives in the apartment directly below where Pineda-Acheta was hiding.

“I pull up sometimes and he helped me,” Lowe said. “He helped me take my groceries upstairs.”

Reports state Pineda-Acheta forced a woman against her will into a car Tuesday, before driving her to an unknown area and tying her up with a plastic rope while threatening her.

Search warrants show the woman told police she was able to escape after Pineda-Acheta tripped in the woods.

On Thursday, bus routes for Chalotte-Mecklenburg Schools were impacted by the SWAT situation.

We spoke with South Mecklenburg High School students who said they were dropped off around 2 p.m. and were not allowed to go immediately home because of the police activity.

“The police said we couldn’t enter because what’s happening is right in front of the gate, so if they happen to shoot somebody, a lost bullet could hit us,” student Maria Toriavarla said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools released the following statement: 

"The safety and well-being of students is always the school district’s top priority in drop off of students who ride CMS school buses. As a standard protocol, students who are unable to be dropped off at their regular school bus stop locations would typically be returned to the school in which they are assigned. Parents would be notified to pick up students from school in such cases. School staff would remain with students at the school until all students are picked up."

"Any student who would have been dropped off prior to notification are being assisted by CMPD on site at a safe location. Another CMS school bus was dispatched to pick up students who were dropped off, to return them to school. CMS continues to work with CMPD to ensure safety of all students and staff."

Channel 9 was there for Pineda-Acheta's first court appearance Friday. He is being held under $45,000 secured bond for the kidnapping charge and $25,000 for other charges.

He is required to wear an electronic monitor if released and has to stay away from the victim.

Officials said he will not be released pre-trial.

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