Attempted Murder Suspect Barricades Himself Inside Home

A standoff ensued after shots were fired in the area, officials said

After a standoff lasting for more than 6 hours overnight, a man wanted for shooting his girlfriend in front of her 4-year-old daughter has been taken into custody.

The attempted murder suspect wanted by deputies barricaded himself inside an Imperial Beach home after shots were fired, officials said.

According to deputies, shots were fired around 6:20 p.m. at 3rd Street and Elkwood Boulevard, prompting deputies to call for back-up.

Officials said deputies were trying to arrest attempted murder suspect Ramiro Espinoza when gunfire erupted. At first, it was unclear if Espinoza or deputies had fired the rounds.

Witnesses later said a neighbor had fired shots at Espinoza, but officials would not immediately confirm that information. Officials did say, however, that deputies at the scene did not shoot their service weapons.

Following the gunfire, Espinoza barricaded himself inside a nearby home, leading to lengthy standoff with law enforcement that continued through the night.

Deputies called for assistance from SWAT around 6:50 p.m. Many residents in the area were told to shelter in place as officials honed in on the neighborhood.

As of 11 p.m., Espinoza remained barricaded inside a home, with SWAT and other law enforcement teams surrounding the area both by ground and air.

Just before 11 p.m., officials ordered residents in 22 nearby homes to evacuate. Residents were told to go to Mar Vista High School as the standoff continued, and the Red Cross was called to assist displaced residents.

Those who live in the Imperial Beach neighborhood told NBC 7 the incident left them on edge.

One man said he heard the gunshots that prompted the standoff, describing the gunfire as a series of rapid, loud popping sounds.

Resident Jake Skuze told NBC 7 his family was very scared after hearing shots.

“When [we heard] the gunshots – we just hit the ground. My little niece was obviously very frightened,” said Skuze.

John Brazaeu said his daughter lives across the street from the standoff zone and was holed up with her children inside their home for the entire afternoon.

“She's nervous. She has all the kids holed up in a back room playing video games and laying low,” he explained.

According to officials, Espinoza is accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend multiple times in the chest, head and neck in front of her 4-year-old daughter on May 24.

The woman sustained life-threatening injuries, but survived. The child was not injured.

Espinoza fled the scene following the shooting and has been at large ever since. For the past two months, Espinoza has had a $1 million arrest warrant for attempted murder, domestic violence, felony assault and felony possession of a weapon.

On Jun. 13, police released a photograph and detailed description of Espinoza in hopes of tracking him down.

Officials consider Espinoza armed and dangerous, and ask the public not to approach him.

“Our goal is to find this man, and get him into custody,” Jan Caldwell of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said at the scene Thursday night. “That's our number one concern. After that, we'll figure out exactly what happened.”

Flash bang rounds were deployed and the suspect was taken into custody just after 1 a.m. Friday.

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