UPDATE: Manhunt ends; authorities make arrests
UPDATE: Monday 7:40 a.m.
A chaotic afternoon that involved a manhunt and five-hour closure of a highway on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore due to a bomb threat has come to an end.
As of Friday evening a male suspect, 24-year-old Hobie Gregory, was in custody while a female suspect, 21-year-old Alana Blakemore, was at Barton Memorial Hospital for a possible drug overdose, according to the South Lake Tahoe Police Department.
The incident started with a call to the FBI field office in Las Vegas regarding a woman threatening to harm herself and others, according to Sgt. Anthony Prencipe of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. The call was forwarded to the FBI field office in Reno.
Sometime around 2 p.m. Friday, federal authorities alerted the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office that a suspected bank robber in a gray Mazda was heading toward Stateline, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies responded but the vehicle changed course and headed into South Lake Tahoe.
The South Lake Tahoe Police Department was then notified that a possible fugitive was in the city and threatening to set off explosive devices if stopped, according to the police department.
Eventually, a California State Parks ranger spotted the suspects near the Vikingsholm parking lot in Emerald Bay, Prencipe said. The ranger followed the vehicle without lights or sirens in an attempt to surveil the suspects until law enforcement arrived.
That’s when the vehicle stopped just north of Vikingsholm on California Route 89.
Gregory got out and fled on foot toward the lake, according to South Lake Tahoe police.
Blakemore emerged from the vehicle with what she alleged was an explosive device around her neck, according to Prencipe. She threatened to set off the device.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived and, with the goal of bringing her into custody, fired a bean bag at her, Prencipe said. The bean bag brought her down and deputies moved in to arrest her.
As she was arrested Blakemore said the vehicle contained additional explosives, which triggered a response by explosives experts from El Dorado and Douglas counties. The FBI and other law enforcement entities also arrived on the scene.
Blakemore, was arrested and transported to Barton Hospital for drug ingestion and possible overdose, according to South Lake Tahoe police.
Meanwhile, Gregory was at large and there was a concern he could have an explosive device.
A helicopter circled over Emerald Bay and law enforcement scoured the area. The beach and park area were evacuated.
During the manhunt, a driver noticed a suspicious individual, who turned out to be Gregory, hitchhiking near Camp Richardson, according to South Lake Tahoe police. That driver reportedly saw Gregory get picked up and proceeded to follow him. Eventually Gregory was dropped off at Raley’s at the Y.
South Lake Tahoe patrol officers and SWAT team responded to Raley’s and located Gregory with the help of store staff, according to police. Law enforcement searched the store and found no explosive devices.
Gregory was booked into the El Dorado County Jail on charges of resisting arrest.
At about 7:30 p.m., authorities determined there were no explosive devices at the scene near Vikingsholm. No weapons were found in the vehicle, according to Prencipe.
California State Parks is leading the ongoing investigation into the matter. Park officials were not available for comment at the scene Friday evening.
Source: Tahoe Daily Tribune
UPDATE at 7:28 p.m. Friday, July 26
From staff reports
Authorities said they expected Highway 89 to remain closed for hours Friday afternoon after taking two people into custody as officials handled a suspicious package, reports state.
The Record-Courier reported that two bank robbery suspects were spotted around 2 p.m. in a 2006 gray Mazda driven by a woman. The Mazda was stopped around 3 p.m. and the driver taken into custody, but the men ran into nearby woods, headed for Lake Tahoe.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office later tweeted that it had located a man “who was outstanding,” adding that nobody else was being sought at the time.
According to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a bomb squad responded at 4:20 p.m. to Highway 89, north of Vikingsholm.
Highway 89 was closed from Bliss to Sugar Pine state parks in El Dorado County, the Record-Courier reported.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — California State Route 89 is closed just north of Emerald Bay.
The Tahoe Douglas Explosion Squad arrived on scene at 4:20 p.m. just north of Vikingsholm.
A second bomb squad truck arrived at 5 p.m.
Eight to 10 law enforcement vehicles sped through town heading south on Lake Tahoe Boulevard.
There is heavy law enforcement activity on scene including the FBI, CHP, South Lake Tahoe Police Department and El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.
No vehicles are being allowed to leave the area or pass through at this time.
This post will be updated.
The Tahoe Daily Tribune is a sister publication of the Sierra Sun.