The man accused of terrorizing a San Diego neighborhood in 2015, bringing air traffic to a halt and shooting at police officers with a high-powered rifle, spurring a lengthy standoff, had an outburst in court Monday when his ex-girlfriend took the stand.
At one point during the preliminary hearing, suspect Titus Nathan Colbert, 34, visibly frustrated, spoke up out of turn.
"You're lying," he yelled at his ex-girlfriend as she testified in court. The judge gave him a warning, telling him to write it down instead.
This is not the first outburst for Colbert. The suspect has been held in jail without bail since his arraignment, based on his bizarre behavior and attitude at his arraignment, where he interrupted court proceedings by yelling at the judge that he stands for a "new world order."
Colbert, a documented gang member from San Diego’s Skyline area who had most recently been living in Las Vegas, faces multiple felony charges including three counts of attempted murder. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum of 105 years in prison.
Colbert's attorney has pleaded not guilty on his behalf at a November arraignment. He underwent two mental evaluations over a period of several months and was found to be competent to stand trial.
After his most recent outburst, Colbert sat quietly, holding his hands together, often times shaking his head in disagreement.
During the first day of his preliminary hearing, his ex-girlfriend took the stand, testifying that they had long broken up after a history of domestic violence.
But in the days leading up to the standoff, Colbert showed up at her apartment, she testified; he then sent dozens of text messages she said were 'very alarming.'
"It caused me to believe that there was something wrong, whether he was gong to break into my house or going to do something to try and get in touch with me, but the situation kind of escalated," she testified.
On Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, officers with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) were called to 2445 Brant Street in the Bankers Hill community to investigate a report of domestic violence involving Colbert.
That disturbance call escalated into a SWAT standoff between law enforcement and Colbert, who was armed with a long-range assault rifle. Holed up inside an apartment unit, Colbert began spraying bullets, narrowly missing SDPD officers.
At a previous arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said Colbert fired shots at three officers during the standoff, hence the three counts of attempted murder.
The SDPD said Friday that one of those officers, identified by the department as Officer Carlos Estrada, a four-year veteran, returned fire. A second officer who also exchanged gunfire with Colbert was identified by the SDPD as Matthew C. Hone, an eight-year vet of the department.
Throughout the standoff, Colbert also allegedly fired random shots into the approach path used by pilots landing aircrafts at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field, which is less than two miles from Brant Street.
The threat to public safety was so great that police shut down traffic in the area, blocking off multiple streets, and ordered residents to shelter in place. At the same time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a ground stop for arrivals into Lindbergh Field, which ultimately caused 140 flights to be impacted or delayed.
At around 2:40 p.m., more than five hours into the dangerous standoff, Colbert was taken into police custody. Although the community was badly shaken, no one was hurt in the ordeal.
Runyon said 17 shell casings had been recovered by SDPD investigators at the scene of the Bankers Hill shooting, though he did not know exactly how many total rounds were fired during the standoff, as the investigation is ongoing. Runyon said the suspect was in possession of three firearms.
Colbert is no stranger to the criminal justice system. Court documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates show he is a documented gang member with an extensive criminal history dating back to his teenage years. His record includes arrests in San Diego, as well as arrests in San Bernardino, Calif., and Arizona.
Most recently, Colbert was charged with five felonies, including selling the party drug Ecstasy to an undercover officer in a drug deal outside a Black Angus restaurant on Friars Road. Colbert was also implicated in another drug deal at the drive-thru of an In-N-Out restaurant in Mission Valley.
In 2012, Colbert pleaded guilty to selling narcotics and served one year behind bars.
An NBC 7 source in the legal community says Colbert is the brother of convicted killer Tecumseh Colbert, a man currently on death row for two 2004 murders.
The ex-girlfriend will be back on the stand on Tuesday. The prosecutor says he expects the hearing to last two or three days.