Escapee’s arrest becomes a fiery rescue

Angelo Atencio II

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has released details of the arrest of Angelo Atencio II, who escaped from the Lassen County Jail Friday, Dec. 2, and his girlfriend, Ashley Ward, 33, in Winnemucca, Nevada.

According to a statement from the HCSO, about 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, deputies learned Antencio and Ward were holed up in a residence on Davis Lane. Deputies responded to the residence, and they saw people run back inside after they arrived.

Deputies spoke to a person who told them Antencio and Ward were inside the residence. Knowing that there were people inside believed to be armed and dangerous and refusing to comply with law enforcement’s orders to exit the residence, the HCSO activated the Tri-County Special Response Team along with a hostage negotiator.

After a communication device was thrown into the residence, the hostage begotiator began talking to a man inside, and he soon left the residence. After several attempts, the hostage negotiator finally made contact with Antencio. Antencio said he had taken Ward as hostage inside the house. The hostage negotiator continued to speak to Antencio for several hours. It was believed that Antencio was armed with a firearm.

Ashley Ward

The negotiations with Antencio to surrender peacefully continued for a couple more hours. Antencio would not come out of the residence. HCSO SRT deployed tear gas in the residence, however, Antencio and Ward would move to another location inside the residence.

“At one point, we could see that a fire was started on the top floor of the residence,” said Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Allen. “We could see at this time Antencio and Ward were in the basement and could hear Ward frantically scream as the house began burning down.”

Eventually, the top floor of the residence became engulfed in flames.

Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Allen

A group of five SRT members initiated a rescue into the residence. They rescued Ward, and then returned to rescue Antencio while the house was fully engulfed in flames.

“The SRT members acted heroically and unselfishly to save the lives of two people who were wanted on felony arrest warrants,” Allen said. “This is an excellent demonstration from our deputies who put their own lives on the line for the lives of others.”

Assisting during the incident were the Winnemucca Police Department, Lander County Sheriff’s Office, Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt General Hospital EMS, Humboldt County Rural Fire Department, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, the Elko Police Department and Lassen County Sheriff’s Office.

Arrested and booked at the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center during this incident were:

Alex Velasco, 46, from Winnemucca, Nevada, on charges of a misdemeanor for failure to appear; Torry B. Twedt, 62, from Winnemucca, Nevada, on charges of resisting a public officer; Antencio, on two counts of being a fugitive from justice in another state, false imprisonment, kidnapping/abduction, arson, first degree attempted murder; and Ward, on charges of being a fugitive from justice in another state.