SAN DIEGO — A Las Vegas man who allegedly shot at San Diego police officers during a nearly 5½-hour standoff at his ex-girlfriend’s Bankers Hill apartment was removed from court during his arraignment Friday after a bizarre verbal outburst.
Titus Nathan Colbert, 33, was taken into custody around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday in connection with the standoff with SWAT officers, which prompted evacuations, school lockdowns, road closures and a suspension of flights at nearby Lindbergh Field. The defendant was booked into jail on suspicion of attempted murder and other charges.
Colbert was led into a glass enclosed defendants box in the courtroom and he immediately began mouthing what appeared to be the word “Illuminati” while looking at the pool news camera recording the proceedings. A bailiff led Colbert in front of Judge David Szumowski. As Colbert’s public defender told the judge that her client refused to cooperate during the reading of his rights, Colbert began repeating at date in a loud voice.
“May 1st, 1776. May 1st, 1776, May 1st, 1776. May 1st, 1776. May 1st, 1776. May 1st, 1776. I stand for a New World Order,” he said.
As the lawyer continued speaking, Colbert spoke over her.
“Benjamin Alex Franklin,” the defendant said.
“We will plead not guilty to all charges, deny all allegations and Mr. Colbert is requesting court-appointed council,” his lawyer said.
“New world order, so there will be no more mistakes in this world,” Colbert said, speaking over his lawyer.
At that point, the judge began reading Colbert his rights, but Colbert interrupted him.
“I will not be subject to criminal abuse,” Colbert said, repeating the phrase three more times as the judge told him that he would be removed from court if he continued with his outburst. When Colbert continued, the judge told a bailiff to take him out of the courtroom.
Colbert is charged with three counts of premeditated attempted murder of a peace officer and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The judge order him held without bail. He faces 105 years to life in prison if convicted.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said a woman called police Wednesday about 9:15 a.m., saying her ex-boyfriend may have gained access to her fourth-floor apartment on Brant Street.
When a police officer checked a rear bedroom of the apartment, Colbert allegedly fired from the bedroom, narrowly missing the officer, Runyon said. Officers retreated and a San Diego police SWAT team was called.
During the 5½-hour standoff, Colbert allegedly fired multiple rounds at two SWAT officers, Runyon said.
Prior to surrendering, the 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 SWAT action prompted evacuations, school lockdowns, road closures and a suspension of 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 between Laurel and West Ivy 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.
Two nearby schools were locked down until the end of classes.
Colbert’s former girlfriend was able to leave the apartment before the gunfire began and was not hurt, police said.
The defendant — who has a 2012 drug conviction — will be back in court Nov. 13. A Nov. 20 preliminary hearing date was also set.