Police say Hawthorne bank standoff suspect believed to have mental issues – Daily Breeze

A man who touched off an overnight standoff when he walked into a Hawthorne bank wearing a dark camouflage jacket with wires protruding from it turned out to be a transient previously hospitalized for mental evaluation for threatening to blow up a Denny’s restaurant and kill police officers, authorities said today.

Police determined Shahab U. Bhutto, 30, was not wearing explosives when he surrendered after a police dog bit him about 2:45 this morning to end a standoff that lasted more than nine hours, Hawthorne police Lt. Jim Royer said.

During the standoff, Bhutto plugged toilets and sinks in the bathrooms and flooded the bank with 3 inches of water, poured white paint he found in a closet over himself, and made white handprints all over the institution’s interior walls, Royer said.

Wells Fargo Bank officials knew the man when he entered the branch in the13500 block of Hawthorne Boulevard shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday and sat down. He had been there previously to discuss closing his checking account, Royer said.

Bank management told police Bhutto does not have an account. In previous visits, he had either spoken with employees or wrote notes, Royer said.

Bhutto ignored employees when he was told to leave as they closed the bank at 6 p.m. He scribbled some unidentifiable words on paper.

Seeing what he was wearing, bank employees left the building and called police. Officers quickly shut down the street outside, activated the department’s SWAT team and called for a Sheriff’s Department bomb squad.

During the next several hours, police made numerous announcements over a loudspeaker to persuade the man to surrender.

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