San Diego gunman in custody; flight diversions at airport end

by Reuters
Thursday, 5 November 2015 01:29 GMT

(Updates with suspect identified, quotes from police chief)

SAN DIEGO, Nov 4 (Reuters) - San Diego police took into custody a gunman who fired at officers responding to a domestic violence report on Wednesday after an extended standoff that prompted the nearby international airport to temporarily divert inbound flights.

There were no reports of injuries, but all arrivals into San Diego International Airport were put on hold during the incident at an apartment complex in the city's Bankers Hill neighborhood, at the eastern end of its runways.

Police named the suspect as Titus Colbert, 33, and said he will be charged with attempting to murder a police officer. The local NBC affiliate cited court records showing he was a gang member with a serious criminal record.

"Our SWAT team did deploy (tear) gas on numerous occasions," San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told a news conference.

"Eventually, the suspect did surrender and he was taken into custody. We did find two weapons at the scene: one looks to be an AK47-type weapon ... and a handgun," she said.

Police SWAT team members had been in a five-hour standoff with Colbert, who they said fired a high-powered rifle at officers who then set up a perimeter around the apartment.

Police said they had been negotiating with the gunman, and reporters on the scene said flash bang grenades were also used before he was taken into custody.

Local residents had been asked not to leave their homes, police said, and two schools in the area were placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure.

Police said officers were fired upon as they responded to a report of a domestic violence disturbance shortly after 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The gunman fired sporadically thereafter, they said.

The San Diego Union Tribune newspaper quoted an airport official as saying that arriving flights had been affected because they have to pass over the apartment complex when landing. Departing flights take off in the opposite direction, the official said, and so were unaffected. (Reporting by Mike Blake; Additional reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Sandra Maler and Eric Walsh)

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