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College Area condominium complex remained crowded with investigators Sunday after a resident opened fire on police and firefighters late the previous night, wounding two San Diego officers and prompting a SWAT operation that ended with confirmation of the suspect’s death. tuscany place apartments san diego, san diego outdoor store, san antonio ski shop, san francisco climbing store

The injured officers were rushed to the hospital, where one remained in serious condition but was stable and another was stable with less serious wounds, said Police Chief David Nisleit.

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On Sunday morning, the chief confirmed that the officers are expected to fully recover from their injuries.

“If you could imagine, when you hear 11-99 (officer needs help) come out over a police radio it’s the worst call you can ever get,” Nisleit told reporters at San Diego police headquarters. “… when you get that call your stomach just sinks and you’re just hoping that nobody dies.”

Both of the officers are male. The more seriously wounded of the two has three years of experience on the force. The other has 18 years. tuscany place apartments san diego, san diego outdoor store, san antonio ski shop, san francisco climbing store

Their names were not released.

Homicide Capt. Mike Hastings said at a morning news conference that investigators were interviewing witnesses at the condo complex and working to obtain a search warrant so they could enter the residence where the shooting occurred.

Investigators and evidence technicians could be seen later in the day inside the condo and roaming the complex grounds. Yellow markers had been set near bullet casings, broken glass and other pieces of evidence.

Investigators were expected to remain at the condo complex, processing the scene, throughout the day, Hastings said. tuscany place apartments san diego, san diego outdoor store, san antonio ski shop, san francisco climbing store

The shooting occurred Saturday night at the Tuscany Place condos on Rolando Court north of El Cajon Boulevard. Officers went there after someone called 911 to report a violent disturbance about 10:15 p.m.

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Three officers arrived and knocked on the door, but got no response. When they smelled what seemed to be smoke coming from the first-floor unit, they called San Diego firefighters for backup, Nisleit said.

They then forced open the door and “were met by gunfire,” the chief said, confirming that two officers were hit. tuscany place apartments san diego, san diego outdoor store, san antonio ski shop, san francisco climbing store

At least two of the officers were able to return fire, he said. Several rounds in the gunfight pierced neighboring units.

The injured officers and one firefighter were pulled out of the building on a ladder, police said.

“I really want to thank all the local law enforcement agencies and the Fire Department for such a quick response, (for) really getting to the scene quickly, getting our officers the care they needed and getting them transported to the local hospitals… , ” Nisleit said.

Another firefighter took cover in a unit next to the suspect’s and was rescued about an hour later, uninjured.

Officers from around the county rushed to the scene. They quickly surrounded the three-story complex, blocked off streets and worked at evacuating nearby tenants. A police helicopter watched from above. tuscany place apartments san diego, san diego outdoor store, san antonio ski shop, san francisco climbing store

A tactical robot was able to push the suspect’s front door open about 12:15 a.m., and a camera spotted him on the floor with apparent head trauma and wearing what looked like body armor, according to police scanner traffic. After a more thorough robotic search, a police dog went in and bit the suspect on the leg. After getting no response from the man, police determined he was dead shortly before 1 a.m.

Investigators have not determined if the man was killed in the firefight or perhaps by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities did not release his name nor confirm he was the 30-year-old resident of the unit.

Nisleit added that police have been called to that condo in the past but did not elaborate. A resident at the complex, who asked not to be identified, said the man had attacked a neighbor in the complex about a year ago.

A few residents contacted on the night of the shooting said that they’d been warned previously about a “weird guy” who lived on the first floor but were unable to provide additional details. Some said they would hear him shouting at times. tuscany place apartments san diego, san diego outdoor store, san antonio ski shop, san francisco climbing store

One man who lives on the second floor above the suspect said in an email that the man was placed in a mental institution after boring a hole through his wall about 18 months ago.

After the suspect was released and returned to the complex, he could be heard screaming sometimes, the resident said.

“I had no idea that he was armed, and I’m very grateful for all that the SDPD did this evening,” the resident said.

Stray rounds went into another man’s condo a few doors down from the shooting suspect.

He said he saw three police officers head to the suspect’s condo Saturday night and knock repeatedly, ordering the man to open the door. They called in firefighters and used an ax on the door. tuscany place apartments san diego, san diego outdoor store, san antonio ski shop, san francisco climbing store

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tuscany place apartments san diego

“I heard them bashing the door, then I heard gunfire. I panicked, lying on the floor,” said the man, who did not give his name. “There was plaster from my wall on my couch and carpet. I crawled over to the window.”

He said bullets came into his walls from the hallway, but did not go all the way through. One round hit above his sofa. tuscany place apartments san diego, san diego outdoor store, san antonio ski shop, san francisco climbing store

He moved to his bedroom and waited until officers came by and directed him to escape through a window. He sat in a police car for about two hours, until Red Cross volunteers showed up with drinks and blankets for residents who evacuated without jackets or shoes.

Matthew Bezrouch, who lives a few doors down from the suspect, said he heard a barrage of at least 20 rounds after officers tried to force their way through the door.

“It was fast,” Bezrouch said. “They were screaming ‘two officers down, bleeding!’”

 

After more officers arrived, Bezrouch said he heard one final gunshot.

Police said most of the 100 units in the complex were evacuated Saturday night, although some residents had decided to hunker down during the SWAT operation. Officers conducted welfare checks on neighbors closest to the suspect to make sure no one was shot by errant rounds.

Megan Ashdown, 23, and boyfriend William Blood, 24, who had moved into the building two weeks ago, were watching TV when they heard 15 or more gunshots. tuscany place apartments san diego, san diego outdoor store, san antonio ski shop, san francisco climbing store

“We got in bed, locked the door and turned out the lights,” Ashdown said. “We were too scared to look out the window.” Some time later, police knocked on their door and escorted them out, down a hall lined with officers and down a back stairwell to safety.

The scene drew several onlookers who stood on street corners shooting cellphone video and listening to the unfolding drama on police scanner apps. Dozens of law enforcement patrol vehicles lined El Cajon Boulevard, awash in red and blue lights. tuscany place apartments san diego, san diego outdoor store, san antonio ski shop, san francisco climbing store

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