Suspect in Encinitas Standoff, Shooting Found Dead

SWAT was called to the coastal community

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two deputies sustained non-life threatening injuries during a standoff in Encinitas Wednesday. Both deputies were conscious upon arriving at the hospital and were greeted by family members. NBC 7's Mari Payton reports. (Published Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013)

    Hours after the shooting of two San Diego County sheriff's deputies prompted the evacuation of an Encinitas neighborhood, officials confirmed the suspect involved was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

    Nine homes were evacuated on Del Rio Avenue Wednesday afternoon after a 22-year-old suspect -- now identified as Evan Kwik --  fired on two deputies, injuring both.

    Around 1 p.m., dispatchers received a call from the suspect's mother who had recently filed a restraining order against her son.

    The woman told officials her son was at her home on Del Rio Avenue when he became upset over the restraining order. The two got into some sort of confrontation and the son stole the mother’s car and left the house, officials said.

    Kwik returned to the residence a short time later and went inside the house.

    By that time, deputies had already arrived at the scene. Officials say the mother then gave deputies consent to enter the home.

    Deputies made verbal contact with Kwik, who was hiding in a crawl space inside the house. Officials tried negotiating with him for several minutes, but he did not comply with orders.

    Deputies deployed non-lethal tear gas into the home and, at that point, officials say Kwik opened fire on deputies.

    That’s when two deputies were shot and wounded.

    One deputy -- now identified as Dep. James Steinmeyer, 31 -- sustained a minor head wound, while a second deputy -- now identified as Dep. Colin Snodgrass -- suffered a leg injury. They were both transported to a local hospital.

    Deputies were not able to immediately detain the gunman after he opened fire from inside the home. Officials deemed the surrounding area “unsafe.”

    The sheriff's department said the man was threatening to shoot additional deputies trying to enter the house on Del Rio Avenue.

    Dozens of police cars, as well as a SWAT team responded to the scene. A witness told NBC 7 San Diego he saw officers with guns pointed at the residence and he heard multiple gunshots during the beginning of the standoff.

    At 1:30 a.m., deputies deployed robots into the home. Shortly after, deputies entered the home and reported the suspect was dead inside with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

    The medical examiner will conduct an investigation into the cause of death.

    A total of nine homes south of Del Rio Avenue were evacuated at around 4 p.m. as a precaution. Nearby roads were also closed off, including Del Rio Avenue, west on Leucadia Boulevard and south of Saxony Road, officials said.

    The Red Cross assisted those evacuated residents at the Encinitas Community Center with food and shelter.

    Residents were allowed back into their homes at 3 a.m. according to officials.

    Officials say deputies have had contact with the suspect in the past. Officials have not yet disclosed why the man’s mother filed the restraining order against her son in the first place.

    As for the wounded deputies, they are expected to recover from their non-life threatening wounds.

    Medics arrived with Dep. Steinmeyer at Scripps La Jolla Hospital.

    As he was wheeled out of an ambulance, Steinmeyer – who suffered a minor forehead wound -- was sitting up and smiling, and appeared to be in good spirits. He was treated and later released from the hospital, officials said.

    The second deputy, Snodgrass – who was shot in the leg – was also transferred to Scripps La Jolla. He used an oxygen mask as he was wheeled into the hospital, but was conscious and able to sit up.

    Dep. Snodgrass was consoled by a family member who patted his head and kissed him as medics wheeled him inside. The deputy’s fiancé and other family members were also there to greet him. Officials said Snodgrass would undergo immediate surgery.

    Sheriff William Gore said both deputies involved in the shooting are expected to survive. Their names, as well as the name of the suspect, have not yet been released.

    "Hopefully they'll make a full recovery," said Gore.

    Gore was dismayed about recent shootings involving law enforcement in Southern California.

    “It's just been a dark few weeks for law enforcement all over Southern California – San Diego, San Bernardino to Riverside, Los Angeles,” said Gore. “I don’t know what it is. Something has to be done. We have to stop this senseless violence. It’s just really out of hand.”

    By 10 p.m., Gore confirmed Snodgrass was out of surgery. Gore said the deputy is expected to spend several weeks recovering at the hospital.


    View Deputies Shot in Encinitas in a larger map

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