San Diego

Man Suspected of Stabbing Good Samaritan in Custody After Hours-Long SWAT Standoff in Oceanside

A man suspected of stabbing a good Samaritan several times, leaving him with life-threatening injuries, was taken into custody Thursday morning after an hours-long SWAT standoff at an Oceanside apartment complex.

The Oceanside Police Department (OPD) responded to the area near Snead Drive and Vista Way, just north of State Route 78, at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday after 911 calls reported a person had been stabbed several times, police said.

A good Samaritan thought a woman was being harassed by a 35-year-old man, identified as Joseph Sustaita, near the intersection of Snead Drive and Vista Way just north of State Route 78 Wednesday evening, Oceanside Police Department (OPD) Sgt. Richard Shickel said.

When the good Samaritan confronted Sustaita, the 35-year-old suspect stabbed him several times in the neck and torso, Shickel said.

"The victim was a good Samaritan that thought the female was having some trouble with the person and that they were going to deal with that," Shickel told NBC 7. "Ultimately it led to him being stabbed multiple times." 

The man was taken to Scripps La Jolla Hospital via medical helicopter, OPD said. At about 9 a.m., the victim was listed in stable condition and was expected to survive. 

Police, with the assistance of San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) helicopter ASTREA and a K-9 team, launched a search for the suspect.

A police dog tracked Sustaita's whereabouts to an apartment complex in the 2300 block of Paseo De Laura, less than a mile from the stabbing location, OPD Officer Tom Bussey said. 

A SWAT team descended on an apartment, where Sustaita was believed to be holed up. 

The team attempted to contact the suspect over the phone but the phone calls went unanswered, OPD said. Sustaita did not respond to knocks on the door.

Just before 5 a.m., nearly seven hours after the incident began, the suspect responded to a SWAT team's call over a PA system. 

The suspect exited a unit and surrendered to police.

Sustaita was taken into custody and booked into the Vista Detention Center and could face an attempted murder and an assault with a deadly weapon charge, Bussey said. 

A truck belonging to the suspect and parked somewhere near the apartment was towed from the complex as evidence, police said. 

Shickel said there was no threat to anyone living in the surrounding area and that the stabbing was an isolated incident. By about 6 a.m., police had cleared the apartment complex. 

No other information was available. 

This is a developing story. Details may change as more information becomes available. 

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