Murder Suspect Shot by Marshals Serving Warrant

44-year-old Joseph Hill is in critical condition

More than 10 shots were fired on a Point Loma street Monday morning as federal agents attempted to take a murder suspect into custody, according to witnesses and officials.

Around 8:35 a.m., San Diego police responded to the report of a shooting in the 1600 block of Catalina Blvd. That’s where the U.S. Marshals Violent Crimes Task Force was serving an arrest warrant for a murder suspect.

According to police, 44-year-old Joseph Hill tried to evade the marshals by driving away in a black Mustang. Police said Hill hit one of the marshals with this car, so several of the others fired shots at him.

“I heard the gunshots, and the dogs started going crazy. I thought it was firecrackers,” said resident Katie Lentz, who recently moved to the neighborhood.

“It sounded like it was right in my front yard. That’s when the second bout of gunfire happened, and I realized it was not firecrackers,” she said.

Police said the Mustang hit several other cars before crashing into a resident’s front yard. It is unclear if the suspect fired any shots, but officials said a gun was found near the car.

“They were telling him to get on the ground,” Lentz recalled. “He had been shot. He was leaning on his car, and he laid down. They got him.”

Hill was taken to a nearby hospital. As of 4 p.m. Monday, he was listed in critical condition. The marshal hit by the car was treated on the scene for minor injuries.

San Diego police confirmed the suspect was wanted in connection to a homicide Sunday evening in Linda Vista.

A man -- now identified by officials as Sean O'Toole -- was shot on Drescher Street around 5 p.m. and then dropped off at a local hospital, police said. He was later pronounced dead.

Investigators were still collecting evidence on Catalina Boulevard into Monday night. Shell casing had littered the street. A stray bullet even hit a car parked one block away.

The Violent Crimes Task Force is known for handling the "worst of the worst," according to its website. Court records show Hill has served time for grand theft, drug charges, failing to register as a sex offender and battery.

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