Gunman suspected of wounding 2 deputies in Encinitas shooting found dead
Residents return to their homes
Last Updated: 91 days ago
ENCINITAS, Calif. - A 22-year-old man accused of shooting two deputies and holding up in his mother's Encinitas home -- prompting a 10-hour SWAT standoff that displaced about 25 residents -- was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound early Thursday, authorities said.
The incident in the 700 block of Del Rio Avenue near Leucadia Boulevard began around 1 p.m. Wednesday with a woman reporting that her adult son was upset that she had recently obtained a restraining order against him and had taken off in her car, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
He returned to the home shortly after 3:30 p.m. and deputies tried to talk to him inside the residence, department spokeswoman Melissa Aquino said in a statement.
Several patrol deputies entered the home with the mother's consent and established verbal contact with the man, sheriff's Capt. Duncan Fraser told reporters at the scene.
"After several minutes of negotiation with him, which was unsuccessful, and because of some statements he was making they deployed less lethal tear gas," Fraser said. "Unfortunately, the male returned fire, striking two deputies."
The wounded deputies were then evacuated and sent to hospitals, he said.
One of the deputies was wounded in the forehead and the other, in the leg, according to Aquino. Both were expected to survive.
After shots were fired, the suspect stayed inside. Crisis negotiators and SWAT teams from around the county flocked to the scene, and for several hours, negotiators were in contact with the suspect, authorities said.
Around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, robots were sent into the home to check on the suspect and about 10 minutes after that, SWAT officers entered and found the man dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Aquino said.
During the standoff, the Red Cross turned the Encinitas Community Center into a shelter for about 25 area-residents displaced by the police activity.
One deputy was treated and released from the hospital, according to Aquino. The other, who was shot in the leg, was admitted into Scripps La Jolla Hospital and was in stable condition after undergoing surgery.
The surgery went well, according to San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore.
"A young strong deputy…with positive thoughts and a lot of prayers out there, he'll get through this," Gore said.
Authorities have not officially released the names of the deputies, but 10News learned through multiple sources that the deputy who underwent surgery is Colin Snodgrass.
Family friends were already reaching out on Facebook, writing, "My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families [Colin] Snodgrass."
Doctors said Snodgrass may have suffered serious nerve damage in his leg.
"There's still a lot of unknowns," Gore said. "It will take several days before we know the extent of the nerve damage."
The other deputy, identified through multiple sources as James Steinmeyer, suffered a glancing wound to the forehead after a bullet grazed his head.
He was treated and released Wednesday evening from Scripps La Jolla.
More comments on Facebook offered support for Steinmeyer.
"My prayers and positive energy goes out to my cousin … Jimmy Steinmeyer, who was involved in a shooting and suffered a gunshot wound to the face," one post read.
Another read, "All I can say is thank you to God for saving my brother."
It was a chilling day for a law enforcement family coping with a violent past few weeks.
"Every deputy and officer in Southern California has been living this nightmare," said Gore. "To have it hit close to home again … it's tragic, but it's something that they live with everyday out there, unfortunately."
Both deputies are expected to make a full recovery from their injuries.
The suspect's name has not officially been released, but sources and neighbors identified him as 22-year-old Even Kwik.
Family friend John Bennett knew Kwik since he was a little kid and was there for the frightening and lengthy end.
"I just think he got really angry because there was a restraining order out on him and things like that, and he had nowhere to go, and he was pretty much freaking out," Bennett said.
Neighbors told 10News Kwik struggled with heroine and mental problems he couldn't push past.
"He has loving parents that are always there for him trying to hlp him out," said Bennett. "It's just really sad because I've known him since he was little, and I just want people to know he wasn't a bad person he just had problems."
Bennett said he felt sorry for the deputies and their families, telling 10News, "I feel really bad for both of them and I hope they have a great recovery."
Kwik lived with his mother -- who is a school nurse -- in the past, but it was unclear where he was currently living.
Residents allowed to return home
More than a dozen residents, who spent the night at a community center due to a SWAT standoff in Encinitas, were allowed back to their homes by 3 a.m. Thursday.
The standoff prompted evacuations of homes on south of Del Rio Avenue. Road closures included Del Rio Avenue, west on Leucadia Boulevard and south of Saxony Road.
Residents couldn't reach their homes Wednesday night because of Sheriff's roadblocks set up a mile from the scene. Cars backed up along Saxony road as deputies forced them to turn around.
All evening long, vehicles backed up along Saxony Road as deputies forced cars to turn around.
"It's really quiet, normally," said Linda Marquette, a resident who was unable to get home. "It's rare to hear a siren or anything going on."
She added, "It's super frustrating because the action's not on this street."
An armored rescue vehicle used by the Carlsbad Police Department transported residents who live near the standoff to the Encinitas Recreation Center, which is opened up to the community in times of crisis.
"They said we don't want people running around out there because we don't know where the guy's at... end up getting shot, it's our fault," said John Flores, another resident who was unable to get home.
For that reason, Flores and his mother Helen are thankful for a warm and safe place to relax until the standoff just a few miles away comes to an end.
"They won't let you in on Leucadia Boulevard," Flores said. "We tried Saxon. We tried over here off Leucadia. They've got everything blocked off, so we're kind of left out in the cold."
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