Standoff suspects arraigned in court

Erica Madriz

The two suspects accused of trying to avoid police by barricading themselves in a south Morgan Hill hotel room, shutting down Monterey Road for more than six hours Tuesday, were arraigned at South County Courthouse. 

Martin Ceniceros Flores, 29 of San Jose, was charged Thursday by prosecutors with felony vandalism, resisting arrest and possession of stolen property, according to South Santa Clara County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Steve Lowney. 

Erica Madriz, 29 of Gilroy, who was with Flores in the motel room during the standoff, was charged with vandalism and resisting arrest, Lowney said. 

Both remain in custody at Santa  Clara County Jail. 

Police first attempted to contact Flores about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Morgan Hill Inn Motel, 16250 Monterey Road, when an officer ran the license plates on a silver Nissan Altima in the motel’s parking lot. Both plates belonged to two separate vehicles that were stolen out of San Jose, but the Nissan was not stolen, according to police. 

After determining which room at the motel was associated with the Nissan, police knocked on the door but officers heard someone moving furniture around inside the room, according to police. 

Officers soon learned that Flores and Madriz, the occupants of the room, had pushed some motel furniture against both their room and the room next door, which the two accessed without permission by breaking through an interior door between the two rooms, police said. 

Flores indicated to police that he was armed and was willing to die before surrendering, police said. 

The Gilroy/Morgan Hill SWAT team, as well as San Jose Police K-9 officers, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies, and area fire agencies responded, blocking off Monterey Road from Tennant to Cosmo avenues and evacuating homes and businesses in the area.

Authorities tried to negotiate with Flores and Madriz for almost six hours to get them to emerge willingly from the motel room, police said. 

About 4 p.m., SWAT officers began firing gas canisters into the room, and shortly after that the suspects surrendered, police said. 

During the standoff, police also determined that Flores was a parolee at large whose last conviction was for assault with a deadly weapon. Authorities also determined he has a lengthy rap sheet, mostly out of Southern California, with a variety of charges including narcotics, robbery and domestic violence. 

Also during the standoff, police searched the Nissan and found a fake handgun, as well as several items that appeared to be stolen in recent burglaries in the San Jose area, police said. After searching the motel room when the standoff was over, police determined he was not armed.

No gunshots were fired during the incident, and no injuries were reported, according to police.