San Diego

Authorities Arrest Suspect in Shooting of Off-Duty Sheriff's Deputy

Ray Koloset Pitoau, 37, was wanted in connection with the Aug. 7 shooting of an off-duty San Diego County Sheriff's Department deputy in downtown's Gaslamp Quarter

A man suspected in the shooting of an off-duty San Diego sheriff's deputy has been arrested, nearly a month after the incident.

Ray Koloset Pitoau, 37, was found hiding in a home south of Tijuana, Mexico according to San Diego police.

Pitoau had been at large since the Aug. 7 shooting of San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Philpot, 35, in the Gaslamp Quarter.

The U.S. Marshal's Office worked with Policia Estatal Preventiva de Baja California to find and capture Pitoau on Wednesday. 

He was transferred to San Diego police custody and booked into San Diego County Jail on two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. 

Pitoau is accused of shooting Philpot, an 11-year veteran of the department, near Sixth and Island avenues on a sidewalk in front of the Gaslamp BBQ restaurant. Philpot was off-duty and had been out with his brother when he was shot. 

The gunfire struck the off-duty deputy three times in the shoulder. The deputy's brother said Philpot was hurt trying to protect him.

Philpot survived the shooting and was hospitalized.

On Aug. 9, San Diego Police Department (SDPD) officers searching for Pitoau followed leads that took them to a home on Tarleton Street in Spring Valley, where they believed he was holed up.

Officers surrounded the home and a five-hour-long SWAT standoff ensued; SDPD officers used flash bangs and a K-9 to get the suspect to come out of the house. A robot was sent into the home.

Eventually, SWAT officers entered the house but did not find anyone inside.

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