SAN DIEGO – Police say a domestic violence suspect who fled through backyards and climbed onto a roof in City Heights early Wednesday was arrested after a nearly 19-hour standoff.
“The man was safely taken into custody moments ago after speaking to our ENT for many hours,” San Diego police said in a 9:25 p.m. tweet.
Authorities say it all started when they received a 911 call around 2 a.m. from a woman who reported that the 36-year-old father of her child had broken into her home on Wilson Avenue, east of 35th Street, and gotten into a fight with her, San Diego Police Officer Scott Lockwood said.
Officers responded to the scene along with a police helicopter, which helped spot the man fleeing through several backyards in the area by hopping over fences, Lockwood said.
Police shut down both directions of traffic on 35th Street near University Avenue. Drivers were asked to avoid the area.
A short time later, the man got a ladder and climbed onto the roof of a home on 35th Street, the officer said. The man jumped from roof to roof before settling down on top of one building, SDPD Sgt. Matthew Botkin told FOX 5.
At one point the man gathered materials from the roof and threw them at officers, so police backed off and called for negotiators and their psychiatric emergency team, Botkin said.
Negotiators climbed up and worked for hours to get the man to come down, but he remained on the roof throughout the morning. Officers wearing police vests over street clothes could be seen standing on the roof at a distance from the man trying to talk to him late Wednesday morning, while other resources — including a fire truck with a ladder — were gathered on the street.
“I went to work, I got home, and everything was still going on,” neighbor Kenny Ewart said. “He’s on the rooftop still just sitting up there and he’s been sitting there walking around, pacing, tearing up the vents, all of that.”
Botkin said authorities suspected the man was “under the influence of something” that was “probably affecting his decision-making.”
The sergeant said authorities were hopeful for a “peaceful ending” to the standoff. “Our goal is to make sure any actions that we take don’t lead to a negative response,” Botkin said. “We wouldn’t want to go up and try to use a taser or bean bag up on the roof, because if we do, that could lead to him falling off and becoming gravely injured.
“We’re not going to go chase him off the roof. … Even though it is an inconvenience to the community, our ultimate goal is to keep everyone safe.”