SAN DIEGO - A San Diego police officer shot and wounded a domestic violence suspect who authorities claim attempted to evade arrest by hiding in a Carmel Mountain Ranch movie theater and pretending to be a patron.
The incident began at 2:22 p.m. Saturday with an alleged domestic violence occurrence reported in the parking lot of a shopping center in the 11100 block of Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego Police Department Lt. Ernie Herbert said.
Officers arrived to find the suspect had fled the scene, and witnesses said the man was armed with a handgun and had run across Rancho Carmel Drive to another shopping center, Herbert said.
Officers tracked the suspect to a multi-screen movie theater, and one officer located him sitting inside one of the theaters as a patron, Herbert said.
“As the officer approached the suspect, the officer gave the suspect verbal commands to determine if he was armed. The suspect initially complied by raising his empty hands, but then lowered them quickly into his lap,'' Herbert said.
“The suspect raised a handgun and turned it toward the officer,'' Herbert claimed. "The officer shot the suspect and the suspect was taken into custody.''
The other patrons in the theater where the shooting took place were able to get away safely, he said.
"We were in the movie theater, and the lights turned on and… two cops came through with their guns," said one movie theater patron. "Apparently the person they were looking for was in the theater and then gunshots started."
Another added, "We all got on the floor and then started heading for the exits."
Nick Anastasopoulos, who owns the Athens Market Café near the theater, told 10News, "Each of the movie theaters was closed down one by one. I was told that the screen was shut and the lights were turned on … Uniformed police officers with shotguns went into the theater looking for someone."
The suspect, identified as Tom Billodeaux, 20, of Escondido, was shot in the arm and the chest and taken to a hospital for treatment, Herbert said. He will be booked into the San Diego County Jail upon release from the hospital.
Herbert did not specify what charges he would be booked on.
The alleged domestic violence victim was able to get away from Billodeaux with help of coworkers and other witnesses and was not injured, Herbert said.
The case remains under investigation, he said.
The theater was closed Saturday evening while police conducted their investigation. It reopened on Sunday.
Friday Theater Shooting
Saturday's shooting in Carmel Mountain Ranch was the second at a local theater this weekend.
San Diego County sheriff's deputies continued their search for the person who fired a gunshot through the front door of a San Marcos movie theater Friday night, wounding an employee inside.
Sheriff's Sgt. Dave Schaller said deputies were sent just before 9:10 p.m. to the 1100 block of West San Marcos Boulevard near the Edwards San Marcos Cinema on a call that the employee appeared to have been struck by a bullet fired from outside.
The victim was taken to a Palomar Medical Center for treatment. Her injuries were not considered to be life-threatening and she was expected to recover, Schaller said.
Investigators suspected the gunshot came from the theater parking lot or from San Marcos Boulevard. The bullet shattered a glass door that faced the parking lot, he said.
It did not appear the victim or the theater was intentionally targeted, Schaller said.