A parolee fired a gun inside a La Mesa motel room Monday morning, just as U.S. Marshals were serving an arrest warrant, according to police.
Five hours after the standoff started, officials said the SWAT team discovered 40-year-old Robert DeLeon dead inside the room. He had apparently shot himself in the head.
The ordeal began around 10 a.m. at the Rodeway Inn in the 4200 block of Spring Street.
Police said DeLeon refused to open the door for U.S. Marshals and a single gunshot was heard. It’s unclear if the initial gunshot was directed toward the marshals or elsewhere inside the room.
The motel was immediately evacuated, and officers surrounded the building.
For the next five hours, the suspect locked himself inside the room, talking to crisis negotiators on the phone.
There was a woman inside the room with him. Officials said she was not being held against her will.
“Our whole goal is to get this guy out peacefully, take him into custody, make sure the female victim is o.k. and remove her from the room as well,” said Lt. Matt Nicholass with the La Mesa Police Department.
Eventually, the sheriff’s tactical unit sent tear gas into the room, and the woman surrendered, according to U.S. Marshals.
Officers finally entered the room and discovered DeLeon’s lifeless body around 3 p.m.
No other injuries were reported.
The entire area was closed to traffic during the ordeal. The California Highway Patrol issued a Sig Alert.
Both sheriff’s deputies and La Mesa police assisted U.S. Marshals during the standoff.
Officials said DeLeon, a known gang member, was wanted for violating probation on a drug charge.