Eight-hour standoff in Union City ends peacefully

Sonia Alvarez, 59, allegedly barricaded herself in an apartment on West Street

1901 West Street, via Google Maps
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1901 West Street, via Google Maps

A potentially dangerous hostage situation was safely de-escalated by the Hudson County Regional SWAT Team and Union City Police Department on the morning of Aug. 22, according to Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez.

Authorities responded to 1901 West Street, where Sonia Alvarez, 59, of Union City had allegedly barricaded herself in an apartment with three small children and three adults.

It started with words

Just after 4 a.m., Union City Police responded to 1901 West Street on reports of a verbal dispute.

Officers attempted to gain access to the apartment to ascertain that all parties inside were safe. But according to police, a female occupant allegedly became irate and would not allow officers to enter.

Union City Emergency Services Unit officers and the Hudson County Regional SWAT then responded to the scene. With the assistance of their crisis and hostage negotiators, the SWAT made contact with the suspect.

Nearly eight hours later, at approximately 12 p.m., the officers safely and peacefully negotiated her surrender. With that came the safe release of all occupants in the apartment, including three children ages six, seven and nine.

There were no injuries to civilians or law enforcement.

Facing charges

Sonia Alvarez’s, relationship to the hostages is not clear.

Alvarez was charged by the Union City Police Department with Obstruction, a disorderly persons offense.

Prosecutor Suarez credited the Hudson County Regional SWAT and the Union City Police Department ESU and patrol units for safely de-escalating the situation, leading to a peaceful resolution.

“Yesterday’s response by Hudson County SWAT and the Union City Police Department was yet another excellent example of officers utilizing their training and resources to peacefully and safely de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation,” said Prosecutor Suarez. “Instead of using weapons and force, the officers were able to use words and trained tactics to safely end a crisis situation without any injuries.”

The above charges are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.