The man accused of terrorizing a San Diego neighborhood, bringing air traffic to a halt and shooting at police officers with a high-powered rifle, spurring a lengthy standoff, had his first court appearance Friday, but it didn't last long after he began yelling in the courtroom.
"May 1, 1776. May 1, 1776," the suspect, Titus Nathan Colbert, 33, repeated as a judge attempted to read him his rights. "I stand for new world order!"
"Benjamin Alex Franklin. New world order. So there will be no more mistakes in the world," he continued, interrupting the judge. "I will not be subject to criminal abuse!"
A judge asked Colbert to be quiet and asked if he wanted to see a psychiatrist. More outbursts followed, and the defendant was quickly removed from the courtroom.
Colbert's attorney pleaded not guilty on his behalf. A judge said Colbert would be held in jail without bail, based on his bizarre behavior and attitude.
Colbert, a documented gang member from San Diego’s Skyline area who had most recently been living in Las Vegas, was arraigned Friday on multiple felony charges including three counts of attempted murder. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum of 105 years in prison.
On Wednesday morning, officers with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) were called to 2445 Brant Street in the Bankers Hill community to investigate a report of domestic violence involving Colbert.
That disturbance call escalated into a SWAT standoff between law enforcement and Colbert, who was armed with a long-range assault rifle. Holed up inside an apartment unit, Colbert began spraying bullets, narrowly missing SDPD officers.
At Friday's arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said Colbert fired shots at three officers during the standoff, hence the three counts of attempted murder.
The SDPD said Friday that one of those officers, identified by the department as Officer Carlos Estrada, a four-year veteran, returned fire. A second officer who also exchanged gunfire with Colbert was identified by the SDPD as Matthew C. Hone, an eight-year vet of the department.
Throughout the standoff, Colbert also allegedly fired random shots into the approach path used by pilots landing aircraft at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field, which is less than two miles from Brant Street.
The threat to public safety was so great that police shut down traffic in the area, blocking off multiple streets, and ordered residents to shelter in place. At the same time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a ground stop for arrivals into Lindbergh Field, which ultimately caused 140 flights to be impacted or delayed.
At around 2:40 p.m., more than five hours into the dangerous standoff, Colbert was taken into police custody. Although the community was badly shaken, no one was hurt in the ordeal.
On Thursday, SDPD officers continued their investigation at the apartment in Bankers Hill where broken glass and shell casings where left behind.
Runyon said 17 shell casings had been recovered by SDPD investigators at the scene of the Bankers Hill shooting, though he did not know exactly how many total rounds were fired during the standoff, as the investigation is ongoing. Runyon said the suspect was in possession of three firearms.
Colbert is no stranger to the criminal justice system. Court documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates show he is a documented gang member with an extensive criminal history dating back to his teenage years. His record includes arrests in San Diego, as well as arrests in San Bernardino, Calif., and Arizona.
Most recently, Colbert was charged with five felonies, including selling the party drug Ecstasy to an undercover officer in a drug deal outside a Black Angus restaurant on Friars Road. Colbert was also implicated in another drug deal at the drive-thru of an In-N-Out restaurant in Mission Valley.
In 2012, Colbert pleaded guilty to selling narcotics and served one year behind bars.
An NBC 7 source in the legal community says Colbert is the brother of convicted killer Tecumseh Colbert, a man currently on death row for two 2004 murders.
Runyon said he had no comment on Colbert's courtroom outburst. NBC 7 did not speak with with Colbert's court-appointed attorney following the quick arraignment.