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Bankers Hill SWAT suspect had mental breakdown days before standoff, ex-girlfriend says

SAN DIEGO -- The former girlfriend of a man accused of breaking into her Bankers Hill apartment and shooting at police during a five-hour standoff testified Monday that she thought he was having a mental breakdown when he texted and called her about 90 times last Halloween night.

Ashley Davies, testifying at a preliminary hearing for 34-year-old Titus Colbert, said she hadn't seen him in weeks when he started calling that night.

Titus ColbertAfter about 30 calls that she did not pick up, Davies said she answered because "it seemed urgent.'' Colbert told Davies he could see her, even though he was in Las Vegas, which she called "alarming.''

Two days later, Colbert showed up at Davies' apartment building as she was leaving, but he left after she told him somebody would call the police if he caused a scene, the witness testified.

"He seemed distressed, like something was wrong,'' she said.

Davies said she stayed at her sister's house in Eastlake the next two nights, and Colbert continued to text her with messages about "dead presidents'' and "time traveling.''

"It didn't make any sense,'' Davies testified. "He was relentless on trying to see me.''

Davies said she drove to her apartment the morning of Nov. 4.

"I got the impression that he (Colbert) would force entry into my house if he needed to,'' the woman testified.

Davies said she told Colbert that she had texted his mother and he responded, "You going to act ugly. It going to get ugly.''

At that point, Davies told Colbert she had called the police. She testified that she and Colbert had a history of a domestic violence during their on-and-off relationship.

She said Colbert was a documented gang member and that she was worried he might come to her place with a weapon.

Davies said she called 911 about 9 a.m. and drove to the front of her apartment building. As she was talking with officers, she heard gunfire.

"I remember getting in my car and driving away,'' she testified. "It was like being in a movie.''

When officers checked a rear bedroom of the sixth-floor apartment, Colbert allegedly fired at them from the bedroom, narrowly missing them. One of the officers, Carlos Estrada, returned fire while other patrolmen retreated and called for backup.

During the standoff, Colbert also allegedly fired multiple rounds at two SWAT officers. One of them, eight-year SDPD veteran Matthew Hone, returned fire.

Prior to surrendering, the uninjured defendant disposed of a revolver and a rifle, dropping them to a courtyard below, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon. A subsequent search of the residence turned up another rifle, and 17 shell casings were recovered inside the apartment, the prosecutor said.

The emergency prompted evacuations, several school lockdowns, road closures and suspensions of incoming flights at nearby Lindbergh Field.

The preliminary hearing resumes tomorrow. At its conclusion, Judge Frederic Link will decide whether enough evidence was presented for Colbert to stand trial on charges of premeditated attempted murder of a peace officer and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Colbert faces 105 years to life in prison if convicted.