9-Hour City Heights Standoff Ends in Arson Suspect’s Arrest

An arson suspect surrendered to SWAT officers early Monday morning, ending a nine-hour standoff in City Heights.

The suspect, identified as Vidal Webb, 41, had barricaded himself in the garage of a friend’s house in the 3800 block of Chamoune Avenue.

He was wanted by San Diego County sheriff’s deputies in connection to an arson in Poway on Sunday morning.

Deputies said they were called to the house fire in Poway just after 5 a.m. in the 13800 block of Belvedere Drive. They said a woman at the resident was reported to be on fire and other residents were trying to treat her by dumping water on her.

Everyone else inside the house escaped safely, and the woman was rushed to UCSD Medical Center’s burn unit. At last check, she was in critical condition.

“To sustain burns like that and have family and friends there to witness something like that, it’s pretty traumatic," said Sgt. Chad Boudreau with the sheriff's department.

Meanwhile, the woman’s boyfriend Webb – suspected of arson – left the house before deputies arrived, triggering a search for him all day Sunday, deputies said.

An anonymous tip led deputies to a home in City Heights, where Webb was holed up and refused to come out upon the request of deputies.

At about midnight, the suspect came out of the garage with his hands up, surrendering to deputies who had been negotiating with him for three hours.

Webb was taken into custody and booked on suspicion of arson causing great bodily injury and attempted murder. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.

Officials say Webb may have intentionally set the victim on fire after a days-long argument. The couple has known each other for 25 years, according to deputies.

Webb has no prior record of domestic violence. However, court documents show he was charged with DUI and hit-and-run in 2012. His blood alcohol level was .29, almost four times the legal limit.

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