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Negotiator Describes Tense South Sacramento Standoff

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SACRAMENTO-

Many witnesses said last night’s standoff in front of the FOX40 parking lot ended without gunfire, thanks to law enforcement negotiators.

CHP South Sacramento negotiator, Officer Ed Bertola was the person speaking to suspect, Cory Thomas for an hour and 40 minutes.

He recalled the tense moments before his surrender.

Their conversation began after officers used their loud speakers to tell Thomas to call 911. Surprisingly, he did.

After securing the perimeter, and standing by in a safe area, dispatchers then connected him to Bertola.

Bertola humbly said it was a team effort.

“We have to allow him to express himself in a controlled way. Focus directed at me, not at anyone else surrounding him,” Officer Bertola said.

Bertola said Thomas was originally over at Power Inn for a registration violation. However, instead of stopping, he led authorities on a 30 minute high-speed chase throughout south Sacramento. After speaking with Thomas, Bertola found that Thomas had experienced a “series of unfortunate circumstances” that led to him running from law enforcement.

He and two negotiators from the Sheriff’s Department ended up calling Thomas a total of 48 times between 9:50 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

“We have someone who is extremely upset, and they don’t know who I am and so i shouldn’t be too offended if he wants to hang up on me a few times,” Bertola said.

Bertola said he chose his words wisely- one mistake and his and his colleagues could become targets, and his suicidal suspect can end his life.

He said he listened to Thomas vent, and showed him he could be trusted, which eventually led to Thomas choosing to surrender.

“I went and I talked to the suspect after [the standoff]. I introduced myself and said ‘I am the one you’ve been talking to,’ and I said ‘Thank you. Thanks for choosing this.’ It could have ended very differently. And he chose to end it this way,” Bertola said.

At around 11:30 p.m., Cory Thomas was taken down by CHP K-9 'Xac,' and was transported to the hospital for a medical examination.