Sheriffs deputies and SWAT officers attempted to rescue a woman who was handcuffed and being held at gunpoint Friday night at home in Alpine, but the woman died during the incident, which involved deputies firing shots, sheriffs homicide Lt. Larry Nesbit said.
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A man who was shot in the leg during the incident was arrested, Nesbit said.
Patrol deputies responded about 6:24 p.m. to a house on Larkspur Drive to a report of a man holding a gun to a woman's head, Nesbit said. Deputies who first arrived saw a man standing near the front door holding a gun to the head of a woman who was handcuffed with her hands in front of her.
At some point, the deputies and the man fired several rounds from their weapons, Nesbit said. The man and woman then entered the home. Deputies requested assistance from crisis negotiators and the sheriffs SWAT team.
SWAT team members initiated a high-risk entry to try and rescue the woman, Nesbit said. Deputies found an unresponsive woman in the home suffering from apparent gunshot wounds, Nesbit said.
The wounded man had several handguns near him, Nesbit said. He was taken into custody and to a hospital. Paramedics determined the woman had died.
Doug Diaz, 61, of El Cajon, said the woman, a longtime family friend, had taken her two young sons to the house to see their father, her ex-husband. He said the boys, about 7 and 10-years-old, were out of the house and not harmed. He identified the victim as Debra Meltzer, and said she was a nurse.
Diaz said that the ex-husband, Justin Meltzer, had suffered a back injury while working on bridge-construction projects and was unemployed.
Cheri Beatty, who said she has lived in the close-knit Crown Hills neighborhood for 14 years, said her son heard a woman screaming.
A woman and her husband who live nearby, who did not want their names used for security reasons, said that the fire alarm outside the house above the garage went off. Their adult son, who was visiting with his children, was outside. He heard a woman scream and yell help me.
The couple said that another neighbor who is a law-enforcement officer who was off-duty went to the door and told a man to put the gun down. The couple called 911.
Part of the neighborhood was cordoned off for several hours, and some residents returning to the area were unable to drive back to their houses. At one point, some were allowed to walk to their homes.
10News has learned the separated couple had filed for bankruptcy in September.
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