Murder suspect gives up after SWAT standoff

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SAN DIEGO -- A man suspected of fatally shooting an acquaintance at a Point Loma Heights condominium complex surrendered in the East Village Thursday morning, roughly 8 1/2 hours after the deadly gunfire erupted in the coastal neighborhood.

Patrol officers responding to reports of gunshots found the mortally wounded 35-year-old victim on the ground in the 4100 block of Voltaire Street about 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to San Diego police. The man, whose name was withheld pending family notification, died at the scene.

Witnesses reported that the assailant had retreated into a nearby residence, Lt. Ray Valentin said. Officers tried in vain to contact the suspect, identified as 32-year-old Thomas Francis Burke, then called in a SWAT team to take positions around the condo and prepare to forcibly enter if necessary.

The stalemate continued past daybreak, until a detective was able to get hold of Burke on the suspect's cellphone. Burke agreed to turn himself in and did so shortly after 7:30 a.m. at 16th and F streets in downtown San Diego. He was booked into county jail on suspicion of murder.

The suspect and victim knew each other, Valentin told reporters, declining to elaborate. The motive for the killing was unknown, the lieutenant said.

Police were unsure if Burke had been in the surrounded residence at all during the standoff or if he might have left the area unnoticed beforehand.

Burke was being held in San Diego Central Jail without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Monday afternoon.


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