ENCINITAS – A 10-hour standoff between SWAT teams and a 22-year-old man ended at 1:38 Thursday morning when members of the Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Detail entered the home and found the man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Sheriff’s Department. By 4 p.m. Wednesday residents near the 700 block of Del Rio Avenue were lining sidewalks and all were saying the same thing, they heard two pops early in the afternoon; they all said that they thought nothing of it, until a “million cops” showed up.
Shortly after 1 p.m., deputies from the Encinitas Sheriff’s Station received a call to the residence.
According to Capt. Duncan Fraser of the Sheriff’s Central Investigations Division, the call came from the mother of a 22-year-old male. The mother had recently obtained a restraining order against him, though the cause for the restraining order was as yet unknown, Fraser said. The man, whose name has not yet been released has had prior contact with law enforcement in the past on “some issues,” Fraser said.
Fraser reported that the man arrived at the residence “extremely upset” over the restraining order. The mother told deputies that he had left the home after stealing her car, but later returned and entered the house.
The responding deputies entered the home with the mother’s consent and were able to establish verbal contact with the man.
“After several minutes in negotiation with him, which was unsuccessful, and because of some statements that he was making, they deployed less-lethal tear gas. Unfortunately, the male returned fire, striking two deputies.”
It was unclear how many shots were fired, and Fraser did not know whether deputies returned fire.
The two deputies were evacuated from the scene and transported to Scripps La Jolla. One of the deputies had sustained a head wound but was treated and released; the second received a wound to his leg, but was in stable condition. Both deputies are expected to be OK.
The names of the two deputies were not yet released, but both were from the Encinitas Sheriff’s Station.
Sheriff’s Special Enforcement detail assumed perimeter control of the location, and crisis negotiators arrived and are in contact with the person, Fraser said. He added that communication is underway, but through what means remained unclear.
At a press briefing Wednesday night Fraser urged the suspect to surrender peacefully.
He is believed to be the only one in the house at this time, Fraser said, but don’t know the type of firearm he has, which makes the scene “volatile.”
At least nine homes in the nearest proximity to the house have been evacuated.
A Red Cross center was set up at the Encinitas Community Center for the families that had been displaced.
There were about 32 people at the community center Wednesday night, including Ian Thompson, who’s lived in the area for 25 years. Apart from some gun fire on New Year’s Eve, he hasn’t seen anything like this before.
“It’s an unfortunate situation, and I think it’s a sign of the times,” Thompson said. “Here we are in a somewhat affluent neighborhood and this level of violence has reached us, so I don’t think any community is protected from the issue of guns in this day and age.”
Thompson said it was an inconvenience, but that it is what it is. “We’ll make the best of it,” he said.
Residents have since been allowed to return to their homes.
At the time of the event Leucadia Boulevard from Interstate 5 to just north of Saxony Road was closed.
The Sheriff’s Homicide team is the primary investigating unit in charge of the investigation and remained on scene.
The Escondido, Oceanside and Carlsbad Police were all officially assisting in the SWAT operations.
Law enforcement from National City to MiraCosta Police to Santee Sheriff’s, U.S. Marshals, the California Highway Patrol and others all arrived on the scene Wednesday to assist.
“Typically, when we have an incident where an officer or deputy is fired upon and especially wounded, we’ll see a large response; a large contingency that will respond as we do if another agency goes under fire. They want to help,” Fraser said.