Hostage standoff ends on Bay Bridge

The Associated Press
Thursday July 04, 2002

OAKLAND — Police shot a man holding his estranged wife at gunpoint on a San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge freeway overpass Wednesday morning, ending a situation that had forced officials to close most of the freeways approaching the bridge from the east. 

The highway closures caused a huge rush-hour traffic jam despite the fact that traffic was light on the day before the July Fourth holiday. 

Police investigators said the situation began Tuesday night when Clay Cael, 48, kidnapped his estranged wife, Bridgette Holt, 35, from a safe house in San Francisco at gunpoint. Police went to Cael’s home looking for him and instead found an 85-year-old woman who had been shot to death. 

Police said Cael and the homicide victim knew each other, although they were not related. 

Oakland Police spotted Cael and Holt in a white Honda at 4:40 a.m. The car was stopped — but Cael dragged Holt onto a freeway approach overpass at gunpoint. 

Authorities quickly closed the approaches to the bridge as they tried talking Cael into surrendering. Finally, they used a stun device and then shot Cael, taking him into custody at about 6:10 a.m. 

Cael was in stable condition at Highland Hospital in Oakland. Holt was taken to a hospital for observation. 

After Cael was captured, authorities began reopening the freeways. 

The San Francisco Police Department said Cael will be charged with murder and kidnapping.