Armed robber briefly holds 2 hostages at Midway District sandwich shop

A robbery suspect surrenders to police outside a Subway shop in the Midway District on Jan. 14.

A man armed with a knife held two people hostage for about 30 minutes Jan. 14 inside a Midway District sandwich shop before they were able to leave safely, police said.

The man remained holed up inside the Subway restaurant for about 90 minutes after the hostages got out, police said. A suspect later surrendered to SWAT officers, who arrested him on suspicion of robbery, false imprisonment and parole violation.

The incident began just before 3 p.m. when a woman called 911 and reported that she and another employee, a man, were being robbed inside the sandwich chain’s location on Sports Arena Boulevard near Rosecrans Street and Camino del Rio West, according to San Diego police Officer Scott Lockwood and Lt. Shawn Takeuchi.

A police officer arrived within two minutes, found the robber still inside the store and ordered him to the ground, Officer Robert Heims said in a news release.

“The suspect grabbed an employee and a knife and told police to leave or he would cut the employee,” Heims said.

The officer backed away and called for assistance, including a SWAT team and emergency negotiators, Takeuchi said in a news release.

At one point as officers descended on the area, the robber reportedly held his arms around the woman, with the knife near her chest, according to police radio traffic. Shortly thereafter, he reportedly put his arms and the knife around the man, too.

Just before 3:30 p.m., both hostages exited the business uninjured, Takeuchi said.

The suspect remained inside the Subway, telling a crisis negotiator over the phone that he wanted to commit suicide by cop, Takeuchi said. But after staying on the phone with negotiators, he surrendered a little after 5 p.m.

He was identified as 38-year-old Benny Mora. He was booked into San Diego County Jail with arraignment scheduled for Feb. 19, according to jail records.

— City News Service and Point Loma-OB Monthly staff contributed to this report.


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