SAN DIEGO – A Las Vegas man accused of firing on San Diego police officers during a five-hour standoff at his ex-girlfriend's Bankers Hill apartment was removed from the courtroom Friday and was ordered a mental competency evaluation after he broke out in song.
Titus Nathan Colbert was in court for a status conference, but Deputy Public Defender Melissa Tralla told Judge David Szumowski that she had a doubt regarding the defendant's mental competency.
Szumowski had Colbert removed from the courtroom because he wouldn't stop singing, suspended criminal proceedings and ordered the defendant held without bail.
“We are the Illuminati, we stand for New World Order,” Colbert repeatedly sang.
Colbert, 33, will be examined by doctors and return to court Jan. 6.
The defendant faces 105 years to life in prison if convicted of three counts of premeditated attempted murder of a peace officer and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said a woman called police about 9:15 a.m. on Nov. 4, saying her ex-boyfriend may have gained access to her fourth-floor apartment on Brant Street.
When officers checked a rear bedroom of the apartment, Colbert allegedly shot at them from the bedroom, narrowly missing them, according to police.
One of the officers, Carlos Estrada, a four-year member of the San Diego Police Department, returned fire. The officers, who had a service dog with them, then retreated and called for backup.
During the standoff, Colbert also allegedly fired multiple rounds at two SWAT officers, Runyon said. One of them, eight-year SDPD veteran Matthew Hone, shot back at the suspect.
Prior to surrendering, the uninjured defendant disposed of a revolver and a rifle, dropping them to a courtyard below, according to the prosecutor. A subsequent search of the residence turned up another rifle, and 17 shell casings were recovered inside the apartment, Runyon said.
The emergency prompted evacuations, several school lockdowns, road closures and a roughly four-hour suspension of incoming flights at nearby Lindbergh Field.
During the standoff, officers cleared out some neighboring apartments and closed the street in front of the building along with stretches of Albatross, Curlew and Front streets.
Officials at San Diego International Airport, which lies just across Interstate 5 from the Bankers Hill neighborhood, suspended arrivals until about 2:30 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Colbert's former girlfriend was able to leave the apartment before the gunfire began and was not hurt, police said.