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Date of Issue: May 12, 2005

Standoff ends peacefully in Bradenton Beach

A dramatic one-hour standoff last Thursday in Bradenton Beach between police and a barricaded suspect who threatened to shoot police ended peacefully when Eliseo Saldano, 24, of Tampa, surrendered without a struggle. The incident took place at the Sandpiper Mobile Resort on Gulf Drive.

Bradenton Beach Police Sgt. Lenard Diaz said officers initially responded to a 911 call about a domestic dispute from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 1:52 p.m. and went to 2607 Gulf Drive N. No. 501 at the Sandpiper.

There, Lt. John Cosby of the BBPD found Barbie Zipperer, whose parents own the property, and Matthew Mitchell involved in a dispute. Mitchell, according to police, was "uncooperative" and was eventually handcuffed for the "safety" of all concerned.

Cosby then asked Mitchell if there was anyone else in the trailer. When Mitchell replied that there was, Cosby entered a bedroom and saw Saldano dive under a bed. The suspect yelled that he was armed and there would be a "bloody shootout" if police came in to get him.

Sgt. John Kenney of the MCSO substation in Anna Maria arrived at the scene as backup and began a discussion with Saldano.

During negotiations for Saldano to surrender, the MCSO SWAT team was called in the event Saldano carried out his threats, said Diaz.

"We had to assume he was armed," Diaz noted, particularly after a loaded .45-caliber handgun that Saldano claimed was his was found in the trailer when Saldano asked officers to find his medication.

After more than an hour of negotiations, Kenney convinced Saldano to surrender peacefully. He was not armed when taken into custody, Diaz said.

Police later recovered a loaded 9-mm handgun from the trailer along with a loaded .380-caliber automatic weapon.

That afternoon, said Diaz, police learned that Saldano was wanted by Tampa authorities for his apparent involvement in a shootout two weeks ago during a drug deal.

Saldano was arrested for aggravated battery, false imprisonment and obstruction while Mitchell was charged with domestic violence.

During the incident, police blocked off traffic in the north and southbound lanes of Gulf Drive for about one hour, forcing motorists to detour back to the mainland. Normal traffic resumed about 3 p.m.