Downtown standoff ends in gunfire

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SAN DIEGO –Police shot and killed a possibly suicidal 62-year-old man Wednesday after he pointed what appeared to be an assault rifle at them from the window of his apartment in the Core-Columbia area of downtown San Diego, police said.

Fatal SWAT shootingOfficers fired about a dozen shots at the man who was standing at the window a third-floor apartment in the 900 block of Broadway at about 11:40 a.m. after he pointed the rifle at them in a threatening manner, San Diego police Officer Ed Zwibel said. After the shots, police lost sight of the man, Zwibel said. They discovered the man’s body when they entered the room about an hour later.

The incident began at about 10:30 a.m., when callers reported that a possibly suicidal man with a rifle was seen at the window of an apartment on the third floor of the apartment, Zwibel said. The building has about 60 apartments on the upper three floors and businesses, including a Hodad’s restaurant, on the street level.

“Initial responding officers as well as emergency negotiators tried to communicate with the suspect, to no avail,” Lt. Mike Hastings said.

Dozens of heavily armed police took up positions around the building, and officer saw the man on the fire escape of the building, Zwibel said. The man brandished what looked like a military-style assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine, and he made statements and gestures that made officers think he was suicidal, the officer added. The man made suicidal gestures, drawing his fingers across his neck as if he were cutting his own throat. He also gestured for police to come closer, but they maintained a safe distance, Zwibel said

PoliceSniperWhile some officer tried to talk with the gunman, other officers entered the apartment building and began evacuating residents.

“I got woke up to the sounds of [police] saying, ‘open the door, this is the police. Come out with your hands up,’” a resident of the apartment told Fox5.

Finally, the suspect allegedly raised the rifle toward police in front of a window, prompting a 22-year department veteran to fire about a dozen rounds at him.  After the gunfire, police continued evacuating the building, but they had no more contact with the gunman, Zwibel said.

At around 12:30 p.m., heavily armed SWAT officers set off a flash-bang grenade and entered the man’s apartment, where they found his body.

His name was withheld pending family notification.

Police told reporters the suspect was believed to have been an Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War.

Police blocked off Broadway and 10th Street with patrol cars and crime tape during the standoff. Because 10th Street is the offramp for state Route 163, traffic backed up in the southbound direction coming into downtown.

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