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Hostage rescued, suspect arrested after 7-hour standoff at Altamonte Springs pizza shop


ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – A pizza shop employee was rescued and a man was arrested after a seven-hour police standoff in Altamonte Springs, police said.

Neal Pittard, 49, was taken into custody and faces charges of false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery, Altamonte Springs police said.

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The situation started Monday evening at the Hungry Howie’s on State Road 434, north of State Road 436.

Police said the man’s wife informed authorities that her husband was at the Hungry Howie’s and had made suicidal threats. Police said Pittard also made several threats to harm employees at the store, then let all but one of them go.

Witnesses told police that Pittard had a gun with an orange tip.

A Seminole County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team was deployed, as well as negotiators, to get Pittard to stand down. Other agencies also assisted.

Around 1 a.m. Tuesday, police activated their sirens and several loud bangs rang out while smoke filled the air outside the shop.

A swarm of SWAT team officers escorted Pittard out of the building on a stretcher and loaded him into an ambulance.

The employee held hostage inside the building was not harmed, police say.

Businesses in the surrounding area were evacuated when the standoff unfolded.

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