OAK PARK, Calif. (KTXL) -- One Oak Park woman said she could not believe what she saw happening Tuesday in front of her uncle’s home.
It was the beginning of what turned out to be an almost 24-hour standoff between an armed man and Sacramento police, all with the lives of eight hostages hanging in the balance.
Yesenia Montanez said seven of the hostages were her loved ones.
“We were in fear ‘cause, I mean, this random guy with this girl, how he pulled her inside by her neck. We were just hoping that nothing happened to them," Montanez, who lives next door to her uncle’s house on Mello Court, told FOX40.
Montanez said the youngest person inside the home was her cousin's 4-month-old baby.
“He said, ‘Hey, don’t nobody do nothing. I don’t want to hurt nobody,'” said Jorge Lopez, who was held hostage with his family.
The hostage situation started with a domestic disturbance Tuesday morning. The man now under arrest and a 13-year-old girl later ended up on Mello Court and at the home of people they did not know after a slow-speed police chase.
“They're trying to go inside and close the … garage door and he just went inside," she explained. "All of a sudden next thing you know the street is filled with cop cars, guns pulled out and everything, and we were in shock."
Montanez, her husband and their two children were evacuated as SWAT team members and crisis negotiators tried to talk down the man who had a gun trained on her family.
After dialing her cousin's cell phone for hours, Montanez was finally able to hear her cousin’s voice as she was still being held hostage.
“I mean, she just let me know that she was OK,” she recalled. “That was when my cousin's husband was let go first."
Around eight hours before the standoff would safely end, a woman and the 13-year-old were the only ones left inside with the suspect. That woman, the mother-in-law of Montanez's cousin, took the situation into her own hands.
"It's ultimately a heroic act on her behalf where she saw that opportunity and she took it. And she was able to escape with that 13-year-old victim safely," said Sacramento Police Sgt. Sabrina Briggs.
"We're thankful that it's all over. I mean, my family is completely out, they're all safe," Montanez told FOX40.