A man claiming to be armed with a rifle barricaded himself in a Chula Vista apartment Friday night, leading to a tense SWAT standoff.
Police went to an apartment in the 300-block of Roosevelt Street just after 8 p.m. to investigate a report of residents arguing inside a home with a woman allegedly yelling, “Don’t hurt me,” according to neighbors who called 911.
When officers arrived, they could hear a woman yelling, “Don’t hurt me, don’t kill me.”
Believing they had a potential hostage situation on their hands, police called for SWAT and the Crisis Negotiation Team. Despite several attempts, officers were unable to contact the occupants inside the apartment. They failed to respond to loud commands by officers.
As SWAT officers arrived, they spotted a man inside the apartment – now identified as Robert Herdrich, 52 – placing furniture and other household items up against the windows and doors, barricading himself in the home.
As a precaution, several surrounding apartments were evacuated during the standoff.
At around 10 p.m., a woman came out of the apartment, unharmed, police said. She told officers Herdrich was still inside, armed with several guns, explosives and a hand grenade.
A little less than an hour later, Herdrich came to the front door and yelled to SWAT officers that he had a rifle. He then ran back inside. Officers did not see a weapon at this point but continued to keep neighbors away from the area.
Resident Luis Lopez was one of the people evacuated.
“All of a sudden, he said, ‘I got a gun’ and they all jumped back and that’s when the police told us all to get out of our houses,” Lopez explained.
Resident Brooke Martinez was also there during these tense moments.
“He just said, ‘I have a gun,” and all the police backed up and they told us to close our door,” said Martinez.
Minutes later, police said Herdrich walked out of the front door, unarmed, and walked quickly toward officers. He was given verbal commands by officials, but he refused to comply.
Officers used a tazer on him and took him into custody. The suspect resisted while being handcuffed, police said, and sustained a minor cut to the head during the arrest.
Once in custody, Herdrich admitted he had no weapons or explosives in the apartment except for a toy gun. During a search of the home, officers confirmed this, only finding a toy squirt gun and no real weapons inside.
According to police, Herdrich has an active temporary restraining order against him involving the woman who was inside the apartment. He also has an active misdemeanor domestic violence-related vandalism warrant.
Chula Vista police said they received a 911 call from the same apartment the night before the standoff. That time, Herdrich was the one who called police to report that his female companion had overdosed. Medical units responded to that incident but no police action was taken, according to the department.