Man charged in Hilton Head standoff after found hiding under home

mmcnab@beaufortgazette.comJuly 22, 2013 

Sergio Alexander Munoz

A man who led deputies on a chase Monday on Hilton Head Island was arrested five hours later after he was found hiding under a mobile home, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies tracked Sergio Alexander Munoz, 22, to a home on Ceasar Place in the Allenwood subdivision, thanks to the court-ordered GPS anklet he was wearing. A standoff ensued.

Munoz was wanted on three felony-arrest warrants. He is accused of threatening a Bluffton woman Saturday outside her home and firing a gun into the air, according to a news release.

When deputies responded at about 7:30 p.m. Monday to Allenwood, they saw a red Jeep, driven by one of Munoz's acquaintances, leaving the neighborhood.

The Jeep turned down a dirt road and re-emerged on School Road. A man matching Munoz's description ran from the dirt road and disappeared.

Deputies tracked Munoz to a home on School Road by the GPS device. Members of the Sheriff's Office Crisis Negotiations Team tried to persuade him to surrender, but he wouldn't come out.

A SWAT team got a search warrant and entered the home. It was empty.

After a while, a SWAT team member detected movement under the moisture-barrier sheeting. Munoz was found underneath the home, wrapped in the sheeting to try to conceal himself.

A K9 unit was brought in just before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. Munoz resisted but was soon apprehended, according to the news release. He was first taken to Hilton Head Hospital for minor cuts from his struggle with the dog, Sgt. Robin McIntosh said.

He was charged with resisting arrest and fleeing to evade arrest.

OTHER CHARGES

Munoz also was charged with pointing and presenting a firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and battery of a high and aggravated nature, stemming from Saturday's incident in Bluffton.

At about 4:45 a.m. Saturday, Munoz and two other men followed a Bluffton woman home in a dark gray sedan. All three men were carrying handguns and wearing bandanas, a Sheriff's Office report said. Munoz struck her with his handgun and ordered her to get down on the ground, the report added.

The woman recognized Munoz as the father of her cousin's child. Believing Munoz was joking, she got out of her car and was entering her home when Munoz threatened her and fired a shot into the air, the report said. Munoz then quickly left the area in the sedan.

Munoz had been wearing a GPS tracking device as part of a bond agreement in February from previous charges, according to Daniel Brownstein, a spokesman for the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office.

Brownstein said Munoz was released from the Beaufort County Detention Center on Feb. 21 after spending more than six months in jail. He was arrested Aug. 18, 2012, and charged with trafficking cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine within a half-mile of a school, and unlawful carrying of firearm, among other charges.

Brownstein said Munoz is set to go to trial on those charges in September.

He is being held without bail at the Beaufort County Detention Center, Brownstein said. Munoz's new charges are to be presented to a Beaufort County grand jury Aug. 22.

No other arrests were made in Monday's standoff. Deputies briefly detained the driver of the Jeep, but he was not arrested. Munoz was not seen riding in or exiting the Jeep, so it is not clear if he was actually in the vehicle, McIntosh said.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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