South Tahoe standoff ends peacefully

Jim Grant/Appeal News Service Police officers take Floyd Elmore into custody after he put down his weapon, ending a nearly three-hour standoff.

Jim Grant/Appeal News Service Police officers take Floyd Elmore into custody after he put down his weapon, ending a nearly three-hour standoff.

LAKE TAHOE - A South Lake Tahoe artist, who allegedly set fire to a shed filled with his paintings and threatened to shoot himself, surrendered to police after a nearly three-hour standoff Thursday.

Floyd Elmore, 24, surrendered and was taken to Barton Memorial Hospital for a mental evaluation after he held the .40-caliber handgun to his head at the intersection of Riverside and Tallac avenues, police Lt. Terry Daniels said.

Elmore allegedly set fire to a small shed next to an apartment complex at 834 San Francisco Ave., where he lived, Daniels said. No one was injured in the fire, which witnesses described as having flames as high as 30 feet.

"He was burning up his paintings, that's for sure," Daniels said. "I don't know why though."

Police first received a report at 9:41 a.m. of Elmore carrying a gun and running along Tallac Avenue toward Lake Tahoe Boulevard

Negotiator Pierre Herring spoke with Elmore, who had at least six guns pointed at him, about Elmore's paintings and his fleeting desire to join family members and become a firefighter.

Daniels said Elmore also spoke of hallucinations.

Herring, with a handgun trained on Elmore, frequently asked Elmore what he could do to peacefully resolve the standoff.

"I've got people here who can help you," Herring said.

Elmore spoke in low tones which was coupled with bursts of speech or spaced with silence. In continuous motion, Elmore stood, sat, kneeled and laid on the pavement all while keeping the gun pinned to his head.

Daniels said Elmore doesn't have a criminal background.

Chris Willing, an AT&T employee, was working behind Elmore's residence along San Francisco Avenue when he saw smoke coming from a shed at the rear of the property.

"I drove up and there were already 20-foot flames," Willing said, watching as a half-dozen firefighters put the last of the fire out. He said he was one of the first on the scene. "I was running around, trying to get people out."

The Minden resident said he is a volunteer firefighter with East Fork Fire and Paramedic. Despite his initial efforts fighting the flames with a garden hose, the fire overwhelmed the shed, so he turned his attention to the residence next door.

"We kept water on it to keep the asphalt shingles from melting," Willing said.

Neighbors and Willing said Elmore, taken into custody three blocks from the fire scene, had initially removed some of his personal belongings as the fire raged. They said he disappeared, and that's when the call came in of a suicidal subject along Tallac street.

Roughly 20 units from the police department, El Dorado County Sheriff's Department, California Highway Patrol and California States Park ranger were at the scene. Daniels said off-duty police officers were called to patrol the city and assist in negotiations.

Daniels said Elmore could be charged on misdemeanors of brandishing a weapon, possession of a loaded firearm in public and resisting arrest. Barton Memorial Hospital officials ruled Elmore fit for incarceration and Daniels expected him to be booked into El Dorado County Jail.


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