Hollister Man Arrested for Allegedly Brandishing Imitation Firearm at Restaurant, Prompting Lockdown
Above: Pellet gun confiscated from suspect during arrest | Hollister PD
Hollister Police have released details regarding a situation unfolded in the 400 block of Tres Pinos Road on February 28th, when officers responded to reports of a man brandishing a handgun. The incident led to the lockdown of a nearby school and the temporary closure of a popular pizza joint.
At around 3 PM, a resident reported to a San Benito County deputy sheriff that a man walking through the parking lot of Round Table Pizza had brandished a handgun and “racked” the gun, seemingly a 9mm handgun, as if he was loading a round into the chamber. The suspect then reportedly entered the restaurant with the gun concealed in a duffel bag or backpack.
Responding HPD Officers and San Benito County Sheriff ‘s deputies established a perimeter around the restaurant, as well as calling employees to exit the building and diverting traffic from the area.
The officers were reportedly assisted by employees who provided information in real-time on the suspect’s movements and allowed law enforcement access to the restaurant’s surveillance system.
The employees reported that the suspect had produced and brandished a handgun at them, police said.
An incident command center was set up across the street from the restaurant, while Hollister Fire personnel and paramedics were staged nearby. Meanwhile, officers assembled a tactical team to enter the restaurant to attempt to make contact with the suspect. As the contact team began their entry, the suspect came out through the front door and was immediately detained.
It was later determined that the firearm brandished by the suspect was a realistic-looking pellet gun, police said.
The suspect, identified as 40-year-old Rodolfo Ayala, was transported to the San Benito County jail on several charges, including brandishing an imitation firearm in a threatening manner, openly displaying an imitation firearm in public, possession of stolen property, and drug charges.
The incident prompted a lockdown of nearby Rancho San Justo School as a precautionary measure. The school remained locked down for several hours as police worked to resolve the situation.
No injuries were reported in this incident, police said.