Authorities: Evan Kwik shot 2 sheriff's deputies, prompted 10-hour standoff in Encinitas
2 injured deputies recovering from wounds
Last Updated: 89 days ago
ENCINITAS, Calif. - Sheriff's officials publicly identified the two sheriff's deputies wounded in a shooting in Encinitas that prompted a SWAT standoff, along with that of the suspected gunman who was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound early Thursday.
Deputies Colin Snodgrass, 27, and James Steinmeyer, 31, were among sheriff's department personnel who responded to the 700 block of Del Rio Avenue about 1 p.m. Wednesday.
A woman there reported that her son, 22-year-old Evan Kim Tian Kwik, was upset about a restraining order she obtained against him on Valentine's Day and had gone to her house and stole her car, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
In that restraining order, Kwik was described as suicidal, armed with a knife and in possession of a chemical agent called "bear spray," sheriff's Capt. Duncan Fraser told reporters.
"Evan is a heroin addict and has emotional issue," Kwik's mother said in the order. "He stole his nineteen-year-old sister's car to buy heroin."
His family became even more concerned as he started lashing out.
"He states he will protect himself and has knives and bear spray," wrote Kwik's mother. "He is verbally very abusive."
His mother feared he would take his own life.
"He is better off in jail than in a grave; Please, please, help me help him," she said in the documents.
Kwik apparently returned to his mother's home shortly after 3:30 p.m. while deputies were searching for him and hid in an attic crawl space.
Several deputies who returned to the home entered with the mother's consent and established verbal contact with Kwik.
"They spent several minutes making verbal communication with him -- telling him to surrender, to come down," Fraser said. "From what we understand, there was an exchange between the deputies and the suspect, which led them to believe it was going to become volatile, at which point they deployed some pepper spray in the area."
The suspect then fired five rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun, striking Snodgrass and Steinmeyer, according to Fraser. Deputies did not return fire.
Fraser said a background check would be done to try to determine where and how Kwik got the shotgun.
The wounded deputies were evacuated and taken to hospitals.
Snodgrass -- a deputy for almost four years -- underwent surgery for a leg wound that caused "extensive damage to his knee area" and remained hospitalized, Sheriff Bill Gore said.
Steinmeyer, who joined the department in 2010, was treated for a facial wound and was released, department officials said.
"We are extremely thankful that both deputies survived this attack," Fraser said.
Crisis negotiators and SWAT teams from around the county flocked to the scene, and for several hours, negotiators were in contact with the suspect.
During the standoff, Kwik called his longtime friend, who asked 10News to withhold his head.
"The words out of his mouth were, 'Dude, I'm completely (expletive). I shot two cops. What do I do?'" Kwik's friend said.
The call continued for several minutes as he pleaded with Kwik.
"He told me, 'How long do you think I'll do in prison?'" the friend said.
The friend asked Kwik to turn himself in, but Kwik told him he planned to kill himself before he hurt someone else.
The standoff ended after robots were sent into the home to check on the suspect, Fraser said.
"Shortly after 1:30 this morning, after a nearly 10-hour SWAT standoff, members of the sheriff's Special Enforcement Detail SWAT were able to make entry into the residence, where they discovered the body of Kwik," Fraser said. "He was dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The cause and manner of death will be confirmed by the county Medical Examiner's Office."
Fraser said the sheriff's department had no record of Kwik being booked into jail, however deputies contacted him in December, when he was taken into custody for a psychiatric evaluation stemming from a 911 call reporting he was suicidal.
Deputies had also been called for a couple other incidents, including one involving vandalism to the residence.
During the standoff, about 25 area-residents were displaced by the police activity. Fraser noted that what was believed to be a pellet from one of the rounds fired was found lodged in a neighboring home's couch.
In a Thursday afternoon news conference, Gore said the gun violence against law enforcement in Southern California has been "unprecedented" in recent months.
Four county sheriff's deputies have been shot and hospitalized within the past five months.
"I'm just tired of going to hospitals in San Diego County to see if my deputies are [going to] live or not," said Gore after visiting Snodgrass at the hospital. "What's it [going to] take in this county, what's it [going to] take in this country before we start addressing some of the senseless violence that we see out there?"
Gore said now is the time for universal background checks to be put in place, quoting National Rifle Association President Wayne La Pierre, who said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
"We need to know who the good guys are," said Gore.
Gore also said more needs to be done to take care of people with mental issues.
Twenty-five percent of the inmates in county jails are on some sort of medications for psychological problems.
Sheriff's officials said cards, letters and items of well wishes for the injured deputies can be sent to the Encinitas Sheriff's Station at 175 North El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA, 92024. The Deputy Sheriff's Association was establishing a relief account and donations can be sent to 13881 Danielson St., Poway, CA, 92064.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. City News Service contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.