Defense: Shooter had ‘psychotic break,’ thought he had special powers

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SAN DIEGO -- Titus Colbert was suffering from a psychotic breakdown and didn't intend to kill any police officers, his defense insisted in court on Wednesday.

But prosecutors say that after he broke into his ex-girlfriend's condominium in Bankers Hill in 2015, he intended to shoot officers who rushed to the scene.

Colbert, 35, is charged with four counts of premeditated, attempted murder of a peace officer, assault with a firearm, assault with a semiautomatic weapon and assault on a peace officer with an assault rifle. The defendant is also charged with illegal possession of firearm by a convicted felon.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said in his opening statement that Colbert took two rifles and a revolver belonging to his roommate in Las Vegas and showed up at his former girlfriend's condo in Bankers Hill a few days before his Nov. 4, 2015, arrest.

The morning of the shooting, Ashley Davies realized that Colbert had broken into her complex and sent him a text saying, "You're trespassing! You're going to jail!", according to Runyon.

Colbert responded by texting "[Expletive] I'm going to be a star. [Expletive] you for putting my life in danger," the prosecutor said.

When officers responded to Davies' sixth-floor condo near the roof of the complex, a shot rang out from behind her door and an officer returned fire, according to Runyon.

The prosecutor said officers retreated and more shots were fired at them and members of a SWAT team.

Hours later, police observed a rifle, revolver and a magazine for a rifle being thrown out of the window where Colbert was holed up, Runyon said.

After Colbert's arrest, officers found 17 expended casings and another rifle under a pile of clothes in the room, the prosecutor said.

Even though traces of cocaine and methamphetamine were found in Colbert's system and even though he had a history of mental health issues, the defendant knew what he was doing that day, Runyon said.

Defense attorney Melissa Tralla told the jury that Colbert had a psychotic break and was paranoid and delusional. She said that days before, Colbert had called Davies at least 50 times and was not acting right.

Colbert was rambling, saying he had special powers and was part of the New World Order, Tralla said.

The attorney said Colbert was showing signs of mental illness by age 6, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia by age 15. Tralla told the jury that Colbert did not intend or plan to kill officers that day.

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