Downtown San Diego

Manhunt Suspect Shot, Killed After Hourslong Standoff in Downtown San Diego

Authorities said the suspect, Christopher Marquez, allegedly shot a bounty hunter in Chula Vista on March 16 then opened fire on National City police officers on April 5

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What to Know

  • Suspect Christopher Marquez and an unidentified woman were hiding in a dumpster on San Diego High School's campus early Tuesday. Sometime before 9 a.m., he was fatally shot, police said.
  • San Diego High School and the nearby San Diego City College will shift to online classes Monday so investigators can continue negotiations on the SDHS campus.
  • A couple of street closures are in effect: southbound 1-5's offramp to 10th Avenue and southbound SR-163's offramp to 10th Avenue.

A wanted man suspected in two shootings, including a shootout with a National City police officer, was shot and killed by authorities on Tuesday, bringing an end to a half-day long standoff at San Diego High School, according to the San Diego Police Department.

SDPD confirmed at 9 a.m. Tuesday that SWAT officers had approached the dumpster where 36-year-old Christopher Marquez and an unidentified woman hid in to hide from authorities. As the woman attempted to get out, Marquez allegedly pulled her back and raised his rifle.

Officers fired on Marquez, killing him. The woman was unharmed.

The standoff began at around 8:15 p.m. Monday when National City police spotted a car in the Point Loma/Midway area that had a passenger with similar features to that of 36-year-old Marquez, according to National City Police Department Capt. Alex Hernandez. The officers tried to pull the vehicle over but it took off and instigated a "high speed" pursuit, he said. They then requested help from San Diego police, SDPD Lt. Matthew Botkin said.

Just a day after schools reopened for in-class instruction, several downtown San Diego were forced to return to online class due to an hourslong standoff. NBC 7’s Audra Stafford has details for you.

Shots were fired from the pursuit suspect vehicle at officers at least three times -- once near Nimitz Boulevard and Interstate 8, again near the SR-163 offramp at 10th Avenue and once more near the high school according to San Diego Police Officer John Buttle and Capt. Hernandez. Upon the third shot, a National City police officer returned fire.

“Based on what I’m talking about here, he’s shot at officers last night. He’s shot at our officers a week ago. He’s shot at bail bondsmen," Capt. Hernandez said about Marquez. "He’s a very dangerous person.”

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

“He is armed and has weapons with him, but I don’t know the exact weapons that he has," Lt. Botkin said.

San Diego police later said in a statement that the suspects had a rifle and handgun.

Christopher Marquez, 36, has been on the run since at least mid-March after he allegedly shot a bounty hunter in Chula Vista. A month later, he was accused of opening fire of National City police officers.

SDPD, the U.S. Marshals, National City Police Department and San Diego County Sheriff's Department were involved in the response, according to Officer Buttle. Tactical vehicles and officers with rifles and heavy protective gear were seen setting a perimeter around the campus.

Negotiations teams have had on and off communication with the two suspects.

“We’re going to bring every resource that we can to make sure that this ends safely and peacefully. A lot of that is contingent on what Mr. Marquez decides to do," Lt. Bokin said early Tuesday.

As the standoff continued, the woman surrendered the handgun in exchange for water, authorities said.

Police later said in a statement that "throughout the negotiations, the man became more agitated and apparently turned his anger towards the woman with him. The woman attempted to escape from the dumpster on several occasions, but the man pulled her back in."

With SWAT officers at an elevated surface, they were able to see the suspects in the dumpster and hear what they were saying. Police said that Marquez "pushed the woman into a position where they believed he was going to shoot her."

The department added that "when the officers saw the man maneuvering a rifle towards the woman, two SWAT officers fired their service weapons at the man striking him." Marquez died at the scene.

Due to Tuesday's response, a couple of road closures were in effect in the immediate area while authorities continued their response. Southbound Interstate 5's offramp to 10th Avenue has been shut down until further notice, as well as southbound State Route 163's offramp to 10th Avenue. They have since been cleared.

With the standoff happening on campus, San Diego Unified School District announce classes for San Diego High School, East Village Middle College High School and Garfield High School will be moved online. Additionally, all events and activities on campus scheduled for Tuesday will be canceled.

Urban Discovery Senior and Junior High School also said it will shift its course online for the day. San Diego City College will also have all its classes online on Tuesday due to the standoff.

The name of the woman who was with Marquez will not be released, but police did say she was in their custody for processing. It is unclear if she will face any charges.

The incident remains under investigation by SDPD's Homicide Unit. Once they conclude their investigation, it will be under review by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office to determine if the officers who fired their weapons should face any criminal liability.

Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to contact SDPD's Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293. Anonymous tips can be made by contacting CrimeStoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Marquez is the suspect in an April 5 shootout with a National City police officer, and the shooting of a bounty hunter in Chula Vista on March 16.

National City Shooting

Shots were exchanged around 2:30 a.m between Marquez, who was allegedly a passenger in a stolen vehicle, and National City police after authorities discovered the car at a fast-food drive-thru.

The incident began at a Jack in the Box drive-thru near 7th Street. There, officers spotted the car and decided to make a "high-risk vehicle stop." Before officers engaged with the vehicle, they called the fast-food restaurant to order employees to lock their 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. The passenger in the back seat of the car, who NCPD identified Monday afternoon as Marquez, however, got out of the car and fled on foot.

National City police are continuing their search for a stolen car suspect who opened fire on officers before running across a freeway to evade authorities.

Two officers chased after Marquez, police said. He headed toward the Interstate 5 on-ramp at 7th Street. Police said at that point he then turned around and fired "multiple" times at officers. Police returned fire as Marquez ran across the freeway.

It's unclear if Marquez was struck by gunfire or injured in his escape. The two officers who were shot at were not injured, according to the police department.

A manhunt got underway after Marquez fled -- investigators said they recovered a gun on the other side of the freeway -- with police officers using a drone to get a better view of the area in an attempt to locate him. National City Police Department Capt. Alex Hernandez said a K-9 unit and SWAT team were also deployed to assist in their search.

Police took two females in the car into custody. It's not yet clear what charges they may face.

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.

Bounty Hunter Shooting

The incident involving Marquez's alleged shooting of a bounty hunter began on March 16 when bail-recovery agents attempted to arrest him at a home on the 600 block of East J Street in Chula Vista.

The agents told CVPD that one of the bounty hunters had been shot by the suspect in front of the home. Jesse Nuñez, whose partner is the wounded bounty hunter, said Marquez fired between seven to nine shots.

“He struck one of our partners in the left bicep and in the right leg,” Nuñez said. “My partner went down; the suspect fled on foot.”

The injured agent suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to CVPD.

The shooting prompted Chula Vista police to respond to the scene, including a SWAT team. At about 7 a.m., SWAT officers entered the home after obtaining a search warrant and found that Marquez was no longer there.

Marquez should be considered armed and dangerous and anyone who encounters him should immediately call authorities, the police department warned.

The injured bail recovery agent suffered non-life threatening injuries and is in stable condition, according to CVPD, reports NBC 7's Artie Ojeda.

2019 Run-In

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Capt. Hernandez said Marquez was the subject of another hourslong standoff in the South Bay two years ago.

On Aug. 19, 2019, Marquez barricaded himself in an SUV outside a National City motel for nearly seven hours before surrendering. The standoff prompted a SWAT team to respond and negotiators to communicate with the suspect for a peaceful end to the standoff.

At the time, Marquez was suspected of a hit-and-run crash in National City. He was also sought by police for a felony warrant, auto theft and felony evasion.

Similarly to Tuesday's standoff, Marquez was with a woman at the time of the 2019 incident. She was inside the SUV with the suspect and surrendered to officers.

Roughly six hours after surrounding the vehicle, the suspect finally surrendered to authorities.

“It was several hours before he eventually surrendered and was taken into custody," Capt. Hernandez recalled. "From that case, I believe that it turned into a warrant and then that’s when he had the run-in with the bail bondsmen."

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