Bankers Hill standoff suspect faces burglary, attempted murder charges
SAN DIEGO — A Las Vegas man is due in a San Diego courtroom Friday for allegedly shooting at police officers at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment near Balboa Park, then holing up inside and periodically spraying more gunfire into the uptown neighborhood while refusing to surrender for about five hours.
Titus Nathan Colbert, 33, was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon following the Bankers Hill-area standoff, which prompted evacuations, school lockdowns, road closures and a roughly four-hour suspension of incoming flights at nearby Lindbergh Field. Despite the dozens of shots fired during the ordeal, no injuries were reported.
The chain of events that led to Colbert’s arrest began shortly after 9 a.m., when his former girlfriend made an emergency call to report that she believed he had broken into her residence in the 2400 block of Brant Street, according to San Diego police.
The woman met with patrol officers outside her apartment and told them she was unsure if Colbert was inside. Entering the fourth-floor unit to investigate, the personnel immediately “were met with gunfire” through a partially closed interior door, police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told reporters.
The bullets narrowly missed the officers, who returned fire, retreated and called for backup, including a SWAT team, SDPD Lt. Mike Hastings said.
As police evacuated neighboring homes, took up positions around the building and blocked off surrounding traffic lanes, Colbert allegedly proceeded to sporadically fire more shots of the windows of his ex-girlfriend’s home in the direction of officers and adjacent buildings.
Nearby City Tree Christian and Washington Elementary schools were placed on lockdown until the end of classes. Staffers at several St. Paul’s senior housing and child-care centers in the area also kept everyone secured indoors as a precaution.
Officials at nearby San Diego International Airport suspended arrivals until about 2:30 p.m., since incoming planes fly at low altitude directly over the area where the emergency was playing out.
The suspect, meanwhile, refused to give himself up even after officers repeatedly fired tear-gas grenades into the apartment.
Finally, after speaking with crisis negotiators off and on for hours, Colbert exited about 2:40 p.m. and surrendered peacefully.
He was taken to a hospital for a precautionary examination before being booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of burglary and three counts of attempted murder. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Officers documenting evidence at the scene of the standoff recovered a rifle and pistol, Hastings said.