IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. - A suspect in a South Bay domestic disturbance allegedly assaulted a responding deputy Friday, then barged into a neighbor's apartment and holed up inside, prompting a nearly five-hour standoff that ended with his arrest.
The initial assault occurred as a patrolman was responding to reports of a loud argument in the 1400 block of 14th Street in Imperial Beach about 6:30 a.m., sheriff's Lt. Mike Munsey said.
Shortly after arriving in the area, the deputy approached a heavily tattooed man, who allegedly punched him and then ran off, according to Munsey. Medics took the lawman to an emergency room for evaluation of apparently minor injuries.
Meanwhile, the alleged assailant, later identified as 30-year-old Richard Allen Perez, fled into a nearby rental residence on Holly Avenue. A retirement-age man who lives in the unit was able to escape unharmed.
The suspect refused orders to exit and surrender, barricaded the front door and allegedly hurled furniture out of a second-floor window toward deputies.
During the rampage, witnesses reported hearing what sounded like gunfire, but it remained unclear Friday afternoon whether any shots actually were fired during the incident, according to sheriff's officials.
As the stalemate continued, a SWAT team took up positions around the apartment, and authorities evacuated everyone from a dozen nearby units and closed a stretch of the street in front of the complex.
Perez continued refusing to surrender even after deputies fired so-called pepper balls, which release a strong chemical irritant, into the residence. By late morning, however, he had begun speaking with crisis negotiators.
About 11:45 a.m., the suspect allowed himself to be taken into custody without further incident.
During the neighborhood ordeal, American Red Cross personnel provided the displaced residents with snacks and liquid refreshments.
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