Police shooting

Court Docs Show San Diego High Standoff Suspect Had Long, Dangerous Criminal Past

NBC 7 found Christopher Marquez had a lengthy criminal history -- the gamut from stealing purses to attempted murder -- in San Diego County

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San Diego police said on Tuesday that they had shot and killed Christopher Marquez after a nearly 12-hour standoff on the campus of San Diego High School following a police chase that involved gunfire.

In the weeks prior, Marquez was allegedly involved in an incident on April 5 that involved a stolen car and a gunfight with a National City police officer, and the shooting of a bounty hunter on March 16 in Chula Vista. Investigators said Marquez was able to elude capture after both of those events.

NBC 7 combed through court records filed downtown and in Chula Vista to piece together Marquez's lengthy criminal history, which spanned more than 18 years and included charges of attempted murder, shooting at police, and a variety of theft and drug counts.

Early Court Cases

The victims of Marquez’s documented criminal past vary in age, starting with a 92-year-old Chula Vista woman. In April 2003, prosecutors charged Marquez and an associate with second-degree robbery after Marquez jumped out of a vehicle and stole the woman’s purse. Records show Marquez pleaded guilty to the charge a month later, and a judge sentenced him to 180 days in prison. 

Four years later, after serving his time on the robbery charge, prosecutors filed a new case against Marquez on June 22, 2007, accusing him of a felony count of burglary. Specific details on that case were not immediately available, but a court clerk confirmed to NBC 7 that Marquez pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced one month later to “jail time, probation and a fine.”

Slew of Cases in 2015-17

Marquez was named as a defendant in an array of crimes between 2015-17, including vehicle and identification theft, grand theft of more than $950, possession of stolen property and possession of controlled substances. Four separate cases would eventually be bundled by prosecutors when Marquez subsequently faced a judge.

Court records show that the San Diego County Sheriff’s Crime Lab connected Marquez to those crimes using DNA analysis.

In one of the cases, a victim’s rims and tires were stolen from their vehicle, and detectives found a cigarette butt nearby, according to sworn testimony. DNA on the cigarette butt matched Marquez’s DNA profile.

In another case, when detectives eventually discovered a man’s stolen car, they found a cup and straw that were left behind inside the car. Crime lab technicians told a judge the DNA left behind on the straw matched Marquez's. 

There were at least five victims identified in Marquez’s crime series during 2015-17. Those crimes were prosecuted together, ending with Marquez pleading guilty to some of the charges. He was sentenced May 11, 2017, to four years in prison for the crimes.

Collision Course Leading Up to Recent Events

By Jan. 11, 2019, Marquez was out of prison, and he was picked up again, this time for drug possession. Court records show he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in jail and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

But Marquez would not show up to serve that sentence, and, months later, a collision course would begin leading up to this week’s deadly standoff.

On Aug. 22, 2019, Marquez fled the scene of a hit-and-run crash in National City and barricaded himself in an SUV outside of the EZ-8 motel in Otay Mesa. Officers responding to the standoff said Marquez was not only wanted for the hit-and-run crash from earlier that day but also for two other felony warrants. Court records show Marquez was also wanted for the earlier drug charge and had a felony warrant for auto theft and felony evasion.

The standoff with police lasted about six hours and ended with Marquez peacefully surrendering.

After appearing in court on Sept. 10, 2019, Marquez posted bail and was released on his recognizance. But in the months that followed, Marquez stopped appearing in court and forfeited his bail bond, according to an arrest warrant filed this year.

March 15 Bounty Hunter Shooting

Those events led to two “fugitive warrant agents,” or bounty hunters, staking out Marquez’s home in Chula Vista on March 15, 2021. 

According to court records, the bounty hunters hired by the bail company Marquez had used previously discovered where Marquez was living. On that night, the men were planning to take Marquez into custody. The two were in constant contact with Chula Vista police, who documented what happened that night in court filings.

A Ring doorbell camera captured activity in a Chula Vista neighborhood where a bounty hunter was shot, officials said.

Before that evening, the bounty hunters said a friend of Marquez had advised them “Marquez wanted to commit ‘suicide by cop’ ” and that they should be aware that “Marquez possessed a handgun and an AR-15 rifle.”

Around 7 p.m. on the night of March 15, the agents called Chula Vista police to say Marquez was leaving his home in his vehicle and they were going to follow him. At one point, while the bounty hunters followed Marquez in their cars, the agents told police they believed “Marquez noticed he was being followed.”

According to a court declaration filed with the request for an arrest warrant, the bounty hunters said Marquez “suddenly changed lanes and made a U-turn,” heading back in the direction of his home. 

When Marquez parked out front of his home, the bounty hunters attempted to arrest him. He fired his rifle at one of the men, hitting him twice in the right bicep and left calf. That man told police he “army crawled” to his car and transported himself to the hospital while the other bounty hunter stayed and watched Marquez retreat into his Chula Vista home.

According to officers who responded that night, the remaining bounty hunter called out Chula Vista PD’s SWAT team, but by the time they searched the home, Marquez was gone.

As a result of his alleged actions, Marquez was charged with two counts of attempted murder and another count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. A warrant was issued April 1, 2021, for Marquez’s arrest. 

April 5 Shootout With Police

Then, on April 5, 2021, Marquez was involved in another standoff with law enforcement, this time with National City police.

In the early morning hours, National City police officers observed Marquez in a stolen vehicle when they attempted a “high-risk vehicle stop” in a Jack In the Box restaurant drive-thru near 7th street.

A manhunt is underway in National City after the passenger of a stolen car shot at police officers and ran across Interstate 5 to evade authorities.

Before officers approached the vehicle, they called the fast-food restaurant and told employees to lock the doors, and authorities moved all other cars in the area.

Afterward, National City police officers stopped the stolen car and said the driver and front passenger were compliant with their commands. However, Marquez, the passenger in the car’s back seat, got out and ran off.

National City police said officers chased after him, and at one point, Marquez turned around and fired "multiple" times at officers. Police returned fire as he ran across the Interstate 5 freeway near 7th Street.

The two officers who were shot at were not injured, according to the police department. Investigators searched the neighborhood looking for Marquez, but officers came up empty-handed. 

Marquez Shot to Death By Police April 12

The manhunt for Marquez came to a head on Monday, April 12, when National City police spotted a car in the Point Loma/Midway area shortly after 8 p.m. Officers said they believed the passenger in that car had similar features to that of Marquez, according to National City Police Department Capt. Alex Hernandez.

Hernandez said officers tried to pull the vehicle over, but it took off, and a "high speed" pursuit followed, with National City police requesting assistance from San Diego police.

Shots were allegedly fired at officers at least three times from the vehicle Marquez was in -- once near Nimitz Boulevard and Interstate 8, again near the SR-163 offramp at 10th Avenue, and a final time near San Diego High School according to San Diego Police Officer John Buttle and Capt. Hernandez. Upon the third shot, a National City police officer returned fire.

Roughly 20 minutes into the pursuit, the car chase ended at San Diego High School downtown. Both of the car's occupants, including Marquez, ditched the vehicle and ran into the school's campus, eventually hiding in a Dumpster near the football field, police said.

During the standoff, the woman hiding with Marquez surrendered a handgun in exchange for water, authorities said.

After a nearly 12-hour standoff, SWAT officers approached the Dumpster where Marquez and an unidentified woman were reportedly hiding from authorities. As the woman attempted to get out, police said, Marquez pulled her back and raised his rifle. That’s when officers shot Marquez, killing him.

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