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Hours-long standoff ends with arrest of auto theft suspect

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SAN DIEGO -- A wanted felon believed to be armed with a gun holed up Thursday inside an SUV outside a motel near Imperial Beach when officers tried to arrest him, prompting a police standoff that ended with the man's arrest nearly six hours later.

Police originally said the man, whose identity was not immediately available, had been involved in a hit-and-run traffic accident. It was later determined that he was wanted for auto theft and probation violation. Police traced an SUV to the E-Z 8 motel in the 1000 block of Outer Road in Palm City. When officers arrived, there was no one in the SUV. Police waited until the suspect and a woman came out of a room and got into the vehicle.

National City police requested backup from their counterparts in the city of San Diego about 10:15 a.m. while trying to get the suspect into custody, SDPD Sgt. Michael Stirk said. Officers with pistols and rifles drawn surrounded the SUV in which the suspect -- who reportedly at some point had made a comment about committing "suicide by cop" -- was barricaded as negotiators tried to persuade him to surrender peaceably. The woman surrendered immediately.

The law enforcement contingent, which included SWAT personnel, finally were able to take the suspect into custody about 4 p.m., according to reports from the scene. Details on the arrest were not immediately available.

Representatives of the National City Police Department did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

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