San Diego standoff: Police coax active shooter into peaceful surrender

Titus Colbert exchanged gunfire with police during the lengthy ordeal. Remarkably, no one was injured.

Greg Bull/AP
A San Diego police officer patrols a neighborhood in San Diego on Wednesday. A man with a high-powered gun was firing sporadically inside a San Diego apartment complex, causing the city's nearby airport to stop planes from landing, authorities said. Officers swarmed the building and exchanged gunfire with the man.

A San Diego man who opened fire on police from his ex-girlfriend’s apartment complex Wednesday is in custody, authorities confirm.

After a five-hour standoff with police, Titus Colbert threw several firearms, including an “AK-47-type” assault weapon out his window, before turning himself over to authorities. During the lengthy ordeal, police evacuated streets and homes near Colbert, creating a perimeter in the Bankers Hill neighborhood. Local schools were placed on lockdown.

No officers were injured during the standoff, but shots came “within inches of police,” San Diego Police Lt. Scott Wahl told The Associated Press. Police returned fire at Colbert, who was “shooting in all different directions.”

The standoff not only disrupted local traffic, but the Federal Aviation Administration also diverted many incoming flights from the nearby San Diego International Airport. Incoming planes fly low above the apartment complex before landing, causing the airport to take precaution.

By the end of the day, “about 30 arriving and departing flights were cancelled and another 30 or so were diverted to other airports,” Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration told the AP. Planes were originally allowed to depart from the airport, but many were cancelled or delayed because of the lack of incoming flights.

Maggie Viger, who had planned a flight to Florida to meet her family, called the gunman “selfish.” “I hope he realizes that his actions are affecting a lot of people,” she told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Colbert’s ex-girlfriend called police shortly after 9 a.m., Wednesday morning, from outside her apartment, after fearing Colbert was inside. When police arrived, they saw a broken sliding glass door and attempted to proceed into the apartment when the gunman “fired several shots at them through a partially closed door.”

“We are so grateful, so thankful, no citizens, no officers, no one was injured,” San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told the Union-Tribune newspaper.

Colbert has prior weapons possession, assault, and drug-related convictions, the San Diego paper reported.

Police say Colbert is a member of a southeastern San Diego gang. The gunman’s brother, Tecumseh Colbert, is currently on death row for a 2004 shooting of investment banker Robert McCamey and store clerk Richard Hammes during a 22-day crime spree.

Chief Zimmerman says Colbert has been booked on charges of “attempted murder of several police officers.”

This report contains material from The Associated Press.

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