Two San Diego police officers were hurt in a shootout with a gunman who opened fire as they entered an apartment near San Diego State University Saturday night, police said. The suspected shooter is dead.
"As you can imagine, last night was a rough night for the San Diego Police Department," Chief David Nisleit said at a Sunday morning news conference.
Police first responded to a "disturbance with violence" at the Tuscany Place apartment complex on Rolando Court, about one mile from San Diego State University, at about 10:15 p.m., he said.
Officers arrived and smelled what they thought was smoke and fire at the unit so they called San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD). They knocked on the door and got no response so officers opened the door, he said.
"As soon as they opened the door, they were met with gunfire," Nisleit said.
The officers returned fire. It is not clear how many rounds were fired in the exchange.
Two officers were struck, one multiple times, Nisleit said. One officer was serious injuries and the other's injuries were not known but both were expected to make a full recovery.
The injured officers were three- and 18-year veterans of Eastern Division, the chief said.
A SWAT team entered the complex and found the suspected gunman dead.
The suspect had an "extensive criminal history" and was wearing body armor at the time of the shootout, Nisleit said.
"We have responded numerous times to this location over the last several years," Nisleit said.
It was unclear whether the suspect died by police fire or a self-inflicted injury because officers have not been able to enter the unit, the chief said.
A firefighter, who was accompanying the officers, got out the way when the shootout started and hid inside another apartment until he was rescued by a SWAT team, Nisleit said.
Nisleit wrote a statement on Twitter Sunday morning that read: "I'm thankful that our officers are expected to make a full recovery. I'm grateful to all of our San Diego County Law Enforcement Officers and Deputies who responded to our call for help last night. I ask that you please send your prayers to our injured officers and their families as they begin their road to recovery."
When the officers were injured in the shooting, the San Diego Police Department requested assistance from all law enforcement agencies in the county, including the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, National City and Carlsbad police departments.
Rolando residents were asked to shelter in place. Some from a few blocks away said they could hear five to six shots echo through the neighborhood.
Residents of Tuscany Place were evacuated, though some chose to shelter in place, as officers assessed the scene, Nisleit said. All evacuated residents were allowed back in their homes as of 2 a.m.
Officers will be at the scene for the rest of the day and maybe into Sunday night.
Two homicide teams were working together on the investigation. One team focused on processing the scene while the other team took witness statements.