A homicide suspect who was holed up in a City Heights apartment Friday after he allegedly shot and killed another man on the property was then shot and killed by police after a standoff.
The deadly confrontation drew the attention of a small crowd, including some who protested, as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators protested and rioted in large cities across the country over the in-custody death of George Floyd.
Gunfire was first reported at around 3:45 p.m. at an apartment on Euclid Avenue south of University Avenue, according to the San Diego Police Department.
At the scene, police found a man with at least one gunshot wound, SDPD Officer Robert Heims said.
Less than an hour later, the man was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was identified more than a week later as 62-year-old Juan Gudino Lopez.
He was working landscaping in the empty lot next door when he was shot, police said.
The suspect was identified as 32-year-old Ronnie Kong.
Both men were from San diego but there was no apparent confrontation between the victim and suspect prior to the shooting, according to investigators.
A SWAT team was called to the scene at around 5:30 p.m. to assist SDPD officers who believed the suspect was still in the apartment. SWAT agents dressed in tactical gear surrounded the apartment, and at least two fired into the apartment. By that point a crowd of people was looking on from behind the police tape, many with their phones out recording the frightening moments.
As the SWAT team began assembling more resources, the suspect emerged from the apartment and walked towards the officers. The suspect refused to cooperate and when he made it halfway down the stairs, he extended a pistol in the direction of the officers. Three officers then fired their weapons at the suspect, striking him several times, said SDPD, Lt. Matt Dobbs.
The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, Dobbs said.
Police said the suspected shooter's mother had called police earlier in the week.
SDPD said the mother claimed her son wanted to die by suicide in a shooting with police.
"The suspect’s mother had contacted the police earlier in the week after the suspect threatened her with a firearm and fired several rounds from a handgun in the residence. The mother did not initially notify the police. When the police were finally notified, they began an investigation and were in the process of preparing an arrest warrant and a Gun Violence Restraining Order," Dobbs said.
The officers involved in the shooting are on leave pending an internal investigation that was described as "extremely thorough."
SDPD said when the homicide unit completes its investigation, it will go to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office to determine if the officers bear any criminal liability for their actions. The Internal Affairs Unit will conduct an investigation to determine if there were any policy violations, and the Shooting Review Board will evaluate the tactics used by the officers. The Community Review Board on Police Practices will conduct a review of the incident and provide any appropriate recommendations. The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the United States Attorney’s Office will also be monitoring the investigation, SDPD said.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with someone who can help.