San Diego

Dispute Among Neighbors Prompts SWAT Standoff, Evacuations in Clairemont

A heated argument between neighbors on Beadnell Way in Clairemont eventually led to officers surrounding one apartment and evacuating others

A lengthy standoff in Clairemont ended Thursday with one woman arrested for allegedly shooting at her neighbor after a noise dispute spiraled out of control.

The woman, now identified as Brittany Lefler, 35, was taken into custody just after 2 p.m., ending a standoff that lasted about six hours. Police had been trying to get Lefler to peacefully surrender since just after 5 a.m.; SWAT officials had been there since around 8 a.m.

The disturbance in the neighborhood led to evacuations of residents in surrounding apartments, road closures and even a precautionary lockdown of a nearby preschool.

According to the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), the ordeal began just before 1 a.m. when officers were first called to an apartment complex in the 6300 block of Beadnell Way to investigate a noise complaint made by one woman against her neighbor, Lefler.

Officers spoke with Lefler about the noise and left after issuing a warning to her.

Just after 5 a.m., officers were called back to the complex because the dispute between the neighbors had heated up and turned violent.

SDPD Lt. Scott Wahl said Lefler confronted her neighbor over the complaint, allegedly pulling a gun on at least two different people and making verbal threats.

The victim who reported the noise complaint told police Lefler had fired shots at her during the confrontation, while she was in her apartment and as she walked on a staircase outside.

Wahl said investigators later discovered a bullet had hit the door of the victim's apartment. The victim was not harmed.

The suspect was last seen walking into her apartment. SDPD officers honed in on the unit where Lefler was holed up.

Using a bullhorn, they ordered her to come out, to no avail. Officers cordoned the complex; two hours later, police remained at the scene and began evacuating some residents.

SWAT officials were called out and a standoff officially began at around 8:10 a.m.

Raw video of police officers surrounding an apartment in Clairemont after a dispute between neighbors escalated into a SWAT standoff.

As a precaution, the Playhouse Preschool across the street on Balboa Avenue was ordered to go on lockdown while officials tried to peacefully end the standoff. Staffers at the school said 13 children were there, all safe and on lockdown until police gave the all-clear.

The standoff continued for many hours, with officers still calling out for Lefler to surrender. Residents of surrounding apartments were unable to re-enter their homes and roads were blocked off to drivers.

Police asked people to avoid the area while they continued negotiations with the suspect.

Finally, by 2 p.m., Lefler was arrested. Police said road closures on Balboa Avenue and Beadnell Way would soon be lifted.

Residents said they were shocked by the incident in their neighborhood, which is otherwise typically quiet.

"This is normally a really quiet street," Clairemont resident Kurt Bassett told NBC 7. "We've got 15 or 20 people that walk their dogs in the morning, little kids getting on school busses..."

"It's scary because you see this kind of stuff on TV, but you're never in the middle of it," said resident Marcia Strong. "You have the comfort of sitting from your couch at home and seeing what's going on, but to be caught up in it, in the moment, it's scary."

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