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Friendly gesture sparks beating, police standoff

TAMPA — What began as a simple hello between a passer-by and a woman sent a man into a violent rage that ended with a woman beaten, a hostage negotiation and the evacuation of several homes in a police standoff, police said.

It all started about 8:50 p.m. Wednesday when Armario Gilbert, 33, was standing outside his ex-girlfriend Patricia Diaz's home at 3417 Republica de Cuba, Tampa police Lt. Bill Ferguson said in a written statement.

Diaz waved to a man on the sidewalk, a gesture that triggered a violent outburst from Gilbert, police said. He dragged Diaz, 38, back into the home and brutally beat her, breaking bones in her face and sending her to Tampa General Hospital. Gilbert broke his hand punching her in the face, Ferguson said.

Gilbert ran away. Police dogs found him hiding in a pickup truck in his father's driveway, 1507 E 28th Ave., just before 12:40 a.m. He told officers he was armed with a .357 Magnum and wanted to kill himself. At one point, he reached into his waistband in an apparent attempt to provoke police into shooting him, Ferguson said.

Authorities evacuated several surrounding homes on E 28th Avenue as a hostage negotiator cooled Gilbert. The negotiations lasted about 45 minutes before he surrendered.

No weapon was found.

Police said Gilbert, a sex offender already on probation for felony cocaine charges, is charged with false imprisonment, felony battery, burglary, resisting arrest without violence and violation of probation.

Casey Cora can be reached at (813) 226-3386 or ccora@sptimes.com.

Friendly gesture sparks beating, police standoff 05/15/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 16, 2008 2:31pm]
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