San Diego

Pauma Valley Man Who Shot at Deputies was Paranoid: DA

Officials said Nieto is a Registered Nurse and had treated his bullet wound himself during the standoff.

A man who allegedly exchanged gunfire with deputies at his home in Pauma Valley had his bail set at $1 million because of the danger his marijuana-induced paranoia presents to himself and his community, a judge said.

Jose Nieto, 28, of Pauma Valley, is accused of firing on three San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) deputies at his home on Adams Drive on Dec. 20, according to the sheriff's department.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said Nieto called 911 that afternoon and requested assistance because he felt unsafe in his home. According to Runyon, Nieto gave deputies the address to a home across the street rather than his own.

While deputies were responding to the fake address, dispatchers received another call from Nieto's ex-girlfriend in Corona.

The girlfriend told deputies that Nieto becomes extremely paranoid when under the influence of marijuana and supplied deputies with Nieto's real address.

As three deputies approached his front door, Nieto came to it with a handgun and opened fire.

Runyon said Nieto fired five shots at the three deputies. Deputies returned fire as they retreated and struck Nieto once.

An hours-long standoff followed the shootout. Deputies were unable to contact Nieto and were unsure if anyone else was in the house with the man who had opened fire.

SDSO Lt. Rich Williams said deputies weren’t sure if the suspect was wounded, dead or even still inside the home.

Eventually, deputies entered the house and found Nieto inside with a gunshot wound to his leg. Officials said Nieto is a Registered Nurse and had treated the wound himself during the course of the standoff.

Deputies found a gun and several forms of marijuana inside Nieto's home, including hash oil.

The SDSO said the deputies who exchanged gunfire with Nieto were not injured. Those deputies have not yet been identified by the department.

Nieto pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder.

Runyon argued Nieto's bail be set at $1 million because of the danger his bouts of paranoia present to himself and those around him and the judge agreed.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 22.

During the standoff, nearby residents were evacuated and others were told to shelter in place. After Nieto was arrested, residents were allowed back into their homes. Pauma Valley is located about 50 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.

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