COLLINS, N.Y. (WIVB) — A tense hostage standoff ended peacefully Tuesday night on the Cattaraugus Reservation in Collins.
The suspect, 43-year-old Hiram Rivera, was taken into custody without incident just after 7 p.m. following a three-hour standoff. The hostage was released in good health.
New York State Police tell News 4 the situation started as a high speed chase between a State Trooper and Rivera, who was on the run after being accused of a home invasion Monday night in Stockton.
The chase ended after Rivera slammed into another car, which started on fire. When Rivera got out of his car, video shows him taking a passenger who was inside as a hostage. He dragged the woman into a wooded area near Versailles Plank Road. Police say he was armed with a handgun and a knife.
“It was just a huge accident,” said witness Heather Balestrieri, who watched the scene unfold in front of her car. “From there we saw police completely surround the vehicle, instantly getting out of their cars with guns drawn screaming at them to get out of the vehicle and put their hands on top of the car, but the suspect wouldn’t get out of the car.”
Rivera was charged with burglary, strangulation and two counts of grand larceny for Monday’s home invasion. He has not yet been charged for Tuesday’s standoff. Police says he remains in the Chautauqua County jail without bail.
The incident had Route 438 blocked off for several hours and residents were asked to stay indoors.
“The situation was very tense for a long time,” said Major James Hall from the New York State Police Department. “It took approximately three and a half hours from the start time of the accident until completion.”
Multiple agencies were called in to assist, including the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.
“We actually rolled out some tactical resources, some SWAT members, snipers, just to hold down the scene,” said Chief Scott Patronik. “The negotiators did a tremendous job talking to this individual. Ultimately he did surrender — he tossed his weapons and did surrender.”
Both Major Hall and Chief Patronik say they’re very thankful for the hard work by the law enforcement agencies on scene, and attribute that to a peaceful ending.