If you were trying to get anywhere between the East and North Bays yesterday you might have noticed miles of traffic snaking up 580, where police shut down a section of the freeway in San Rafael near the foot of the Richmond Bridge and forced all traffic to take a big detour -- all because of a gunman holed up in a hotel near the freeway... and he's still there, holed up! The gunman is a guy who, on Sunday, is believed to have stabbed two workers at a nearby grocery store after they apprehended him for shoplifting food and alcohol. He escaped the store, nearly ran over a security guard in his stolen car (it's a black Audi station wagon with stolen plates off a guy in Sausalito with the same make and model, whose house was subsequently surrounded by police on Sunday), and returned to the Extended Stay Deluxe Hotel next to the freeway where they tracked him down yesterday morning.
About 70 police officers from North Bay sheriffs departments surrounded the hotel at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, and the dude refused to come quietly out of his room. He said he was up there with his girlfriend, and at around 10:45 a.m. he fired shots out his hotel window toward the freeway, prompting the shutdown of the roadway and the detour. Police then brought in an armored personnel carrier (perhaps mostly because they've been waiting for an occasion to pull out this particular toy) to "get closer to the hotel" without being shot. The standoff continued overnight, with the man threatening to kill his girlfriend if the police did not leave. Also, he wanted a pack of cigarettes.
And the standoff continues now, though I-580 has reopened as of about 1:05 a.m. It's unclear why authorities now believe it's safe to drive on that stretch of 580, when they kept it closed all of yesterday believing it was not.
See ABC 7's coverage of the standoff and the stabbings below.