Man with warrant out for his arrest tries to hide out in family's home, deputies say

ST. PETERSBURG - A seven-hour SWAT standoff in Lealman ended late Wednesday night when the holed up man jumped out of a home's second story window and 'violently' struggled with officers.

Deputies said Martiego Wallace, 24, barricaded himself in a home in the 4000 block of 28th Street North after he threatened a woman's life a few blocks away.

As a precaution, deputies evacuated some residents and closed 28th Street North between 40th Avenue and 44th Avenue.

According to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Wallace threatened a woman he believed 'snitched' on him to police.  Gualtieri said Wallace raised up his shirt to show the woman he was carrying a gun.

The threatened woman, who was not identified, called police.  Wallace fled and was spotted on 28th Avenue North.

When police descended on the area, they say Wallace fled into two story home.

"My mom and my sister were all upstairs laying down and they heard some noises downstairs," explained a woman who lived in the home who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Wallace did not know the family.  When they noticed him crawling up the stairs panic took over.

"My mom opened the door and she saw this man creeping up the staircase like trying to be quiet," the woman explained. 

A total of four people were inside the home including a two month old child. 

"She [my mother] was scared. She was like, 'Oh my God,' and he was like, 'I am not coming to hurt you.  I have a warrant and I just need to stay here and hide,'" the woman added.

Scared and trying to protect the newborn, the woman said she told Wallace he could hide out in a back bedroom.

"She felt like if she would have told him to get out the house he would have shot her," the woman's daughter said.

Already looking for Wallace, police came to the house and asked if he was there.  When the woman told police he was hiding out and forced his way into their home, police evacuated the family and called the SWAT team.

Neighbors and other nearby residents also were evacuated.  Officers also shut down 28th Avenue North from 44th Street North to 46th Street North.

Sheriff Gualtieri told ABC Action News a device was sent into the home to detect where Wallace was located.

"He was under blankets and sheets," the sheriff explained.

The device, according to Gualtieri, allowed deputies and SWAT team members to communicate with Wallace. 

However, at one point, Wallace fled to another room of the home and then jumped out of a second story window on to the roof of a garage and then he jumped to to the ground, Gualtieri said.

Gualtieri said the standoff came to a violent end when Wallace attempted to take a gun from one of the SWAT officers.  He did not elaborate on any injuries Wallace may have suffered.

Wallace was cuffed and taken to the front porch of the home.  As of 11 p.m., deputies had not recovered the gun they believed Wallace had on his person.

Wallace had a warrant for his arrest issued January 29 for violating his probation.  He was on probation for a 2012 burglary.

Arrest records show Wallace has 11 other arrests in Pinellas County.

Charges are now pending following the standoff.

A man who came the scene following the standoff identified himself as Wallace's brother.  He declined to comment on camera but yelled out several times, 'My brother is a good dude.'

Wallace is scheduled to make his first appearance at 1:30 p.m., according to officials from Pinellas County jail.

As for the family who lives in the home Wallace holed up in, they said it is time to move.  They have only lived in the house two months.

 

 

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