SAN DIEGO - Five Tierrasanta schools went into lockdown for about 90 minutes Tuesday as authorities searched for a 22-year-old homicide suspect out of Riverside County who fled from officers, disappeared into the neighborhood and managed to elude arrest for hours.
The precautionary security measures at De Portola Middle School, Serra High, and Kumeyaay, Tierrasanta and Vista Grande elementary schools went into effect about 1 p.m., after San Diego police reported that fugitive Matthew Rowley of Corona was believed to be at large in the vicinity and might be armed, San Diego Police Department Detective Gary Hassen said.
Officers also closed down stretches of several streets while combing the area on foot and scanning it from above by helicopter, according to Hassen.
Administrators began lifting the lockdowns about 2:30 p.m., said Jack Brandais of the San Diego Unified School District Communications Department.
Pupils at Kumeyaay Elementary, the closest campus to the spot where Rowley disappeared, were bused to the community's nearby high school as an added safety precaution, according to Brandais.
Shortly before 6 p.m., agents with the San Diego Fugitive Task Force arrested him at an apartment in the Montanosa complex in the 11000 block of Camino Playa Carmel. Police said they had information he was staying with family friends who live there.
When they called for Rowley to come out and surrender, another man and woman stepped outside. A few minutes later, police took him into custody.
"He was hesitant at first, but once he was convinced that we weren't going away and that he was surrounded, he eventually gave himself up," said Steve Jurman, who is with the U.S. Marshals Service.
Rowley was wanted in connection a fatal shooting that occurred in Corona on Jan. 16, said Corona Police Department Sgt. Kim Velasco.
About 9:30 that night, officers responding to reports of gunfire found 20-year-old Daniel Stordahl of Corona mortally wounded from multiple bullet wounds in a residential area on Border Avenue, Velasco said.
Investigators later arrested Patrick Kohler, 22, of Riverside on suspicion of driving the shooter out of the area. Rowley subsequently was identified as the alleged gunman, Velasco said, declining to disclose what led police to that determination. Rowley's whereabouts remained unknown until Tuesday.
The motive for the slaying was unknown, and it was unclear if Rowley and the victim had been acquainted, Velasco said.
A law enforcement task force based in Anaheim aided Corona police in the case and gathered information indicating that Rowley was hiding out in San Diego, the sergeant said.
When officers with the multi-agency team spotted Rowley near a park just south of state Route 52 this afternoon, he immediately bolted and was able to lose them as they gave chase, according to Velasco.