A man involved in a shooting and subsequent SWAT standoff in Bonita Friday night died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to officials.
Just before midnight, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department announced that the nearly six-hour standoff with an armed man holed up inside an apartment in the 2900-block of Briarwood Road was over.
Officials said they had deployed a robot inside the apartment around 10:30 p.m. to check on the suspect. The man's body was found inside the living room of the unit with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. A rifle was found next to the suspect.
The SWAT standoff in the Bonita apartment complex at Briarwood Road, near State Route 54, began around 6 p.m.
About an hour earlier, around 4:50 p.m., deputies were called to the scene to investigate reports of rapid gunshots being fired in the area, Lt. Eddie Brock with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department told NBC 7.
When deputies arrived at the scene, they found a man suffering from a gunshot wound in the driveway of the complex.
Deputies then spotted another man running towards the apartment complex armed with what appeared to be a rifle, officials said. The man ran into an apartment unit, and barricaded himself inside for hours.
Deputies quickly established a perimeter around the complex and began evacuating at least four units immediately surrounding the apartment where the suspect was holed up.
During a search of those evacuated units, deputies found a second shooting victim – a woman, also suffering from a gunshot wound. Officials say both shooting victims were taken to a hospital for treatment with non-life threatening injuries.
Deputies called in for assistance from SWAT and other law enforcement agencies. For the next five hours, deputies with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) and SWAT engaged in a standoff with the shooting suspect, who refused to surrender.
Officials said the suspect is a 45-year-old man, but have not released his name. It is unknown, at this time, if the suspected gunman was a resident of the Bonita apartment complex. The motive for the shooting has not been determined.
During the standoff, residents in the complex who were not evacuated by officials were told to shelter-in-place and keep their doors and windows covered.
Meanwhile, officials secured the area and shut down the Briarwood off-ramp at SR-54. Both lanes of Briarwood Road were also closed, and motorists were asked to stay away from the area all night as dozens of law enforcement officers worked the active scene.
A temporary evacuation point was established by the Red Cross for residents who were evacuated from the complex. The evacuation point was at Sweetwater Community Church. There, the Red Cross provided water, snacks and a meeting point for evacuees.
In addition to SWAT and deputies, the sheriff’s ASTREA helicopter also assisted in the standoff. Deputies from Santee, Lemon Grove and Imperial Beach helped too, as well as officers from Chula Vista, Carlsbad, CHP, National City, and medics from Cal Fire.
Right before the suspect was found dead inside the apartment, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department released the following statement:
“We are urging him to give himself up. We don’t want anyone else to get hurt. We want this incident to end peacefully.”
As of midnight, officials said deputies would remain on scene continuing their investigation. However, road closures in the area have been lifted, and residents sheltering in place have been informed that the ordeal is now over.