A 10-hour-long SWAT standoff ended in Encinitas, Calif., early Thursday morning, after a 22-year-old alleged gunman who shot two sheriff's deputies was found dead of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
The standoff, which forced police to evacuate nine homes near Leucadia Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon, began after the suspect’s mother called police to report that her son had stolen her car. She told police that her son had been upset about a restraining order she had recently filed against him, ABC10News in San Diego said.
According to San Diego County Sheriff’s Captain Duncan Fraser, when the man's mother called back about two hours later, at around 3:30 p.m., to say that her son had returned, several patrol officers entered the home and tried to talk to him. That confrontation ended in the man opening fire on the two deputies, who were evacuated and taken to the hospital, the report said.
"After several minutes of negotiation with him, which was unsuccessful, and because of some statements he was making, they deployed less lethal tear gas," Fraser said. "Unfortunately, the male returned fire, striking two deputies.”
Sheriff William Gore said that neither of the deputies suffered life-threatening injuries. "Hopefully they'll make a full recovery," he added.
Steve Schwier, a plumber from San Marcos, who happened to be in the area doing plumbing work that afternoon, said that he saw the deputies enter the house before shots broke out.
“I see the deputies going into the house and I heard three shots – sounded like a 44 or bigger caliber gun,” Schwier said. “The next thing I know, I see four [deputies] in a group and one of them has a rag on his head, he evidently took a head shot. Then I found out another one was wounded in the knee."
The suspected gunman remained inside the home after the shots were fired, leading police to call in crisis negotiators and SWAT teams from around San Diego. The negotiators were reportedly in contact with the man for several hours until communication ceased, the reports said.
At around 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning, robots were deployed and sent into the home to check on the suspect. Ten minutes later, SWAT officers entered the home and found the man dead, reportedly of self-inflicted gunshot wounds, ABC10News said.
Gore added that the incident marked a recent surge in Southern California shootings involving law enforcement.
“It's just been a dark few weeks for law enforcement all over Southern California – San Diego, San Bernardino to Riverside, Los Angeles,” he said. “I don’t know what it is. Something has to be done. We have to stop this senseless violence. It’s just really out of hand.”