After ending an hours-long standoff by flushing battery suspect Nelson Santiago, 44, out of a Westlake Apartments unit with chemicals, Lakeland police used a dog to apprehend him and he was charged with domestic violence and aggravated assault.

News release from the Lakeland Police Department:

The Lakeland Police Department responded to a report of domestic violence at the Westlake Apartments, 501 Hartsell Avenue, at approximately 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 27, 2016. The victim advised officers that her boyfriend, Nelson Santiago, age 44, punched her in the face during an argument and then fled the apartment. Witnesses at the location reported seeing Santiago holding a handgun as he fled.

LPD officers, with the assistance of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, searched the area for approximately one hour but were unable to locate Santiago and cleared the scene. Approximately 30 minutes later, Lakeland Police Department received a call that Santiago had returned to the apartment. First responding officers observed Santiago in the apartment and set up a perimeter, considering him armed and dangerous.

While on scene at the standoff, officers learned that Santiago had pointed a firearm at another Westlake Apartments resident at approximately 8:45 p.m. on December 27th. According to the victim, Santiago was brandishing a long sword and a handgun, which he pointed at her, as she was driving into the complex. The victim positively identified Santiago out of a photo pack and detectives were able to secure a warrant for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

After several hours of unsuccessful attempts to convince Santiago to surrender peacefully, the SWAT team and agents with the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations responded to the scene. After no verbal response from Santiago, officers deployed chemical agents into the apartment. Within minutes Santiago attempted to flee out the front door of the apartment and was apprehended by Police K9 Valor. Santiago was transported to Lakeland Regional Health and treated for injuries sustained during the K9 apprehension. When cleared, he will be transported to Polk County Jail and booked on felony charges of Domestic Violence and Aggravated Assault.


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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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