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Suspect’s all-night swim to avoid arrest proves futile

CORONADO, Calif. –A man who appeared to be high on drugs surrendered early Monday after spending more than seven hours in the ocean off Coronado.

The man identified as 46-year old John Michael White was wanted on a felony drug warrant.  At about 9:50 Sunday night, officers approached White on the street near the Hotel Del Coronado.  White immediately took off running towards the beach, while shedding his clothes.  Throughout the night, he stayed in the water as Coronado police, lifeguards, the Coast Guard and the Navy Shore Patrol surrounded him and tried to coax him out of the surf.

“He was actually in and out of the water trying to play a cat and mouse game with officers on shore,” said Chief John Bolduc, San Diego Harbor Police.

Helicopters flew overhead while K-9 patrol units waited on shore, but the suspect threatened to injure anyone who approached.  At 5:00 a.m., a special dive team from the Harbor Police was called in.

“Our police divers are excellent swimmers.  They all have training to dive in very difficult environments,” said Chief Bolduc.Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 5.21.57 PM

Sunday night the environment was high surf, low visibility and cold temperatures.

“The water temperature at 64 degrees or so hypothermia can set in,” said Chief Bolduc.

Ocean currents eventually pushed White down to Silver Strand State Beach.  A special dive team from the Harbor Police used special equipment and skills and finally accomplished what the officers on land could not.

“One officer approached him from the front one approached him from behind, ” said Bolduc.  “They were able to take him under water and subdue him.”

Finally, shortly before 5:30 a.m., White was taken into custody.  He was taken to a UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest for observation and faces a charge of resisting arrest, as well as those on the original arrest warrant.

Ocean Standoff off Coronado

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