On Thursday night, residents of a College Area apartment complex returned to their homes, still nervous from a SWAT search for a suspect in an officer-involved shooting. Nicole Gonzales reports.
Police officers shot and killed a suspect and arrested another while serving a warrant in the College area east of San Diego State University Thursday.
At around 10:30 a.m., officers were alerted by a parole agent of the whereabouts of two parolees-at-large who were wanted for outstanding warrants. The agent told officers at least one of the parolees was armed with a handgun and was considered dangerous.
Agents then directed officers to an apartment building in the 5400 block of Reservoir Drive, where the two suspects were thought to be staying.
Officers established a perimeter around the building and prepared to order the men out of the apartment. As this was happening, two men exited the apartment.
When officers attempted to contact the men, they both ran, officials said.
One suspect ran back through the building and fled. The other man attempted to run back into the apartment, but the door was locked. Officers pursued that suspect and gave him verbal commands to put up his hands and get on the ground.
Officials said the suspect did not comply. Instead, he allegedly turned toward the officers and reached into his pockets.
Fearing an assault, the officer closest to the suspect fired his service weapon, fatally striking the man. Medics were called, but the suspect died at the scene.
The Medical Examiner revealed the suspect's name as Angel Miguel Lopez, 27, of Chula Vista.
According to SDPD officials, the officer who shot the suspect is a 12-year veteran of the Department.
Meanwhile, the second suspect who ran from the scene prompted a door-to-door manhunt, the lockdown of a nearby hospital and a warning that he may be armed with an AK-47.
Officers surrounded a vehicle parked along the 5000 block of Reservoir Drive while they searched for the second suspect. Another person was arrested at the scene, but it is unclear what kind of involvement they had in the situation.
Aerial images from NBC 7 San Diego's helicopter showed officers near what appeared to be a red or maroon car parked with the driver's side door open outside the Villa Del Sol apartments.
Police vehicles and motorcycles temporarily closed Reservoir Drive and Alvarado Road to traffic in both directions.
Officers scattered themselves throughout the area just south of Interstate 8 and Alvarado Hospital Medical Center. The hospital was placed on lockdown, however the emergency room was still open, officials said.
Investigators combed nearby canyons and conducted a door-to-door search for the suspect described by police as a heavy-set Hispanic man.
“It’s like they’re kind of waiting for something to happen,” said resident Will Leingang, who was watching police from his home up the hill from the Villa Del Sol apartments.
He said he didn’t hear any shots, but around 1:30 p.m. he heard a lot of commotion outside.
“Suddenly there was a ton of officers,” he said adding that there appeared to be five or six patrol cars on the road.
Dorian Mcwain, a resident of Villa del Sol, said he heard gunshots very close to his apartment and said he was asked to leave his residence by police.
“To wake up and have this transpire during a normal day is unreal,” he said. “I’m used to red cups and the college students and the partying, but not gunshots."
A command post was set up in a parking lot near the hospital and San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne was on scene as his officers prepared for a SWAT situation.
Shortly after 3 p.m., the second suspect was located and arrested a short distance away, according to assistant police chief Boyd Long. Residents alerted police that he was hiding nearby. During his arrest the suspect had dirt and grass across his face and appeared exhausted.
Police believed two people who possibly helped the suspects had barricaded themselves inside a nearby apartment. Officials surrounded the apartment, but it later turned out to be empty. No further information was released about those two potential alleged accomplices.
Thursday was the first day of class for SDSU students returning from the holiday break.