A man apparently armed with an assault rifle was taken into custody in San Diego Wednesday after an hourslong standoff with police during which the gunman fired at officers and into a surrounding residential neighborhood.
San Diego police said the man was in custody about 2:30 p.m. Video from the scene showed a man apparently handcuffed and placed into a patrol car.
He was identified as Titus Colbert, 33, San Diego Police Department Chief Shelley Zimmerman said.
Officers initially responded to a building in the 2400 block of Brant Street — located in the Bankers Hill area north of downtown — after a woman called police to say she believed her ex-boyfriend was inside her apartment.
“She was fearful and she called,” Zimmerman said at an afternoon news conference. “She made the exact right call.”
Officers who went to the apartment heard no one inside and went to open the unit. When they did, they were fired upon, Zimmerman said.
One officer “narrowly missed” getting shot, the chief said. At least one officer returned fire.
The officers were able to retreat, call for backup and set up a perimeter around the complex. A SWAT team and an emergency negotiation team arrived.
“As we were setting up a perimeter … we started to hear more shots from a balcony rooftop area out into our neighborhood,” Zimmerman said. “You had residents and citizens just out walking around … and we started to hear more gunshots.”
Nearby apartment were evacuated and people were moved off the street. Colbert fired on police again, and at least one officer returned fire, Zimmerman said.
A long negotiation began, and Colbert continued to fire while he spoke to police, according to the chief. The SWAT team sent tear gas into the apartment several times, and eventually the man surrendered peacefully, Zimmerman said.
“We’re just grateful that no one was injured during this and the suspect was taken into custody,” she said.
An “AK-47-type” weapon and a handgun was recovered, the chief said, adding that Colbert threw them out of the apartment.
The ex-girlfriend’s neighbor, Tom Neu, said he was “shaking” after hearing the gunshots.
“I turned and looked and there was a hole in my wall, and there was cinderblock, stucco all over my patio,” Neu said. “You just immediately panic.”
SWAT team members helped him get safely out of his condo, Neu said.
Colbert would be booked on suspicion of attempted murder of police officers and other charges, the police chief said. His ex-girlfriend was never in the unit with him and was safe, police said.
During the incident, residents in the area were asked to shelter in place, stay inside their homes, and not go near any doors or windows. City Tree Christian School was locked down as a safety precaution, police said.
Because of the standoff, arriving flights were not able to land at nearby San Diego International Airport, which said the Federal Aviation Administration had issued a ground stop for incoming air traffic.
The ground stop was lifted by the FAA after the man was taken into custody, the airport stated on Twitter.
Four flights had to be diverted to Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County due to the incident, the Riverside Press Enterprise reported.