North County SWAT standoff ends with 2 arrests

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. — A man and woman suspected of a home invasion burglary in Escondido earlier this month hid inside a North County home Wednesday afternoon when police tried to contact them, prompting a five-hour SWAT standoff that ended with their arrests.

Detectives tracked down Diana Ponce, 24, and 30-year-old Hector Robles in the 500 block of West Seventh Avenue in Escondido about 12:30 p.m., Lt. Mike Loarie said.

The suspects, who were being sought for offenses involving guns and other weapons, failed to respond when officers repeatedly tried to contact them via telephone and a bullhorn, leading police eventually to summon a special weapons and tactics squad. The military-style team arrived about 2 p.m. and took up positions around the house.Escondido SWAT

Other officers, meanwhile, closed stretches of several nearby streets and evacuated several neighboring homes as safety measures.

“They were telling the guys in there that if they don’t come out, we’re going to go in there with force,” said Victor Herrera, who was watching from across the street.

“They threw gas bombs,” said Freddy LeDesma who was on his way home from school.  “They told us to get back because it was going to hurt your nose and eyes.”

In the late afternoon, officers discharged tear gas into the residence, to no immediate effect. A short time later, the SWAT personnel sent in “flash-bang” concussion grenades, then forced entry and began going through the home room-by-room.

The officers soon found Ponce and Robles hiding in a closet-type storage area. The suspects, the only occupants of the house, surrendered without further incident at about 4:30 p.m., Loarie said. No injuries were reported.

The pair was expected to be booked into county jail on suspicion of resisting or obstructing peace officers and, in connection with previous alleged crimes, burglary, robbery, home invasion and assault with a deadly weapon.

The lieutenant declined to disclose what connection, if any, Ponce and Robles have with the residence where they holed up Wednesday afternoon.

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