Tierrasanta neighbors are still shocked by a scary home invasion and sexual assault over the weekend that ended with a brave rescue by San Diego police.
“It was quite horrifying to hear what happened. Our neighbors went through this horrible situation. I can't even imagine,” neighbor Tom Maine said.
Gunfire from the home invasion suspect and police woke up some neighbors at around 2 a.m. Saturday.
Police say 40-year-old Demetrius Trussell tried to break into two homes before successfully entering a third on Viacha Drive and taking a 53-year-old woman and her elderly father hostage at gunpoint.
Trussell allegedly physically and sexually assaulted the woman. Screams from inside the home prompted police to kick in the front door, and when they encountered Trussell he forced the woman and her father into a room at gunpoint, SDPD said.
Then, Trussell fired at least one shot from a gun which didn’t hit anyone. Meanwhile, an officer on the roof of the home next door shot at Trussell several times through a window. The shots missed but they were enough to coax his surrender, according to police.
“My wife heard the gunshots and the dogs heard the gunshots, so everyone was awake at that point and we were trying to get a handle of what was going on,” Maine said.
The man who was taken hostage did not want to go on camera, but he told NBC 7 he and his daughter were shaken up, and that he was lucky to be alive.
“It’s horrifying. It really is something that you just don’t think would ever happen,” Maine said.
Trussell is due in court Tuesday on charges including kidnapping, having a stolen vehicle, sexual battery and assault with a deadly weapon.
Despite the frightening incident, Maine said he isn’t worried about his safety.
“We still feel safe. That was such a strange situation – it was a horrible situation, and I know it can happen to anyone at any time, but, overall, I feel safe,” he said.
The first attempted break-in came a little after midnight on Rueda Drive, according to SDPD.
The homeowner told showed NBC 7 inside her home to the window where Trussell allegedly tried to break in. She said it was a few feet away from her son’s bunk beds. He woke her hope yelling, ‘Mom, there’s a man coming through the window!’” And she said, “I’m getting my gun,” which she thinks scared the man away.
NBC 7 confirmed Trussell has prior cases in Florida ranging from intoxication to drug charges between 2013 to 2016. He also had a 2018 case in San Diego, according to records.