Suspect in El Cajon standoff arrested: Some homes evacuated

Man suspected of attacking wife

EL CAJON, Calif. - A sword-wielding man who holed up in an El Cajon home amid a reported domestic dispute, prompting a more than six-hour standoff, was arrested, then hospitalized, Wednesday, police said.

Police went to an apartment at 353 Dominguez Way shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday in response to a woman who said her husband struck her repeatedly, El Cajon police Lt. Tim Henton said. She was taken to a hospital to be treated for facial injuries and later released.

Ennis Staten, 38, remained in the apartment as officers arrived. He threatened to stab officers if they went inside and to kill himself, Henton said.

During the initial stages of the incident, the suspect was seen with multiple knives, including a machete, Henton said. He also was breaking things inside the apartment and challenged officers to come in and get him, the
lieutenant said. 

The SWAT team was dispatched and crisis negotiators spoke to Staten throughout the night, but did not convince him to surrender, Henton said.

Henton said it became clear to officers about 5 a.m. that the suspect was not going to come out on his own, so they deployed tear gas. Staten exited about a half hour later,  armed with two swords, which he refused to drop, Henton said.

SWAT officers fired a sponge round -- similar to a beanbag round -- to force him to drop the weapons, Henton said. He arrested and taken to a hospital for an evaluation.

Staten would be booked on suspicion spousal abuse, false imprisonment, criminal threats and threats against a peace officer, he said.

Carol Watkins, a neighbor who cleans the family's home and baby sits the couple's 6-year-old daughter said the situation was shocking and heartbreaking.

"I’ve never had any problems with Ennis at all ... Ennis has always been very cordial, very friendly," Watkins said. "I'm just totally blown away, I never, never thought it would have gotten this way. He doesn’t seem like that type of person."

10News learned that the couple's marriage was troubled. An older daughter told 10News her mom filed for divorce two months ago and that Staten was with a counselor hours before the incident.

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