FBI wanted to search Rolando cop shooter's home for weapons, DA's Office declined it

Posted at 7:09 PM, Aug 20, 2018

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - There’s now a bombshell update about the standoff from earlier this summer at a condo complex near SDSU.

Two officers were shot and dozens of neighbors were terrorized. 10News Investigative Reporter Jennifer Kastner has confirmed that officers wanted to search the suspect’s home for weapons days before the shooting.

However, the Office of the San Diego County District Attorney did not attempt to get a search warrant. It was a horrifying night that ended with one person dead and two San Diego Police officers wounded by gunfire. Suspect Joseph Darwish died in the massive standoff.

He had numerous hand guns and rifles, according to police. In the days after the shooting, 10News was tipped off by a law enforcement source that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force had wanted to search Darwish's home because they thought he had a weapon and was buying parts to make more weapons.

Darwish wasn't supposed to own any weapons because of his criminal history. Our source says the FBI asked the District Attorney's Office to sign off on having a judge issue a search warrant, but the DA’s Office did not do so.

For the past 7 weeks, 10News has been trying to confirm this with the DA’s Office.

After our 10News attorneys got involved, the DA’s Office sent us a letter reading in part, “On June 13, 2018, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office received a request by law enforcement to review a draft of an affidavit in support of a search warrant to conduct a search of Mr. Darwish's person, property and residence. The District Attorney's Office determined that the warrant was legally deficient and so advised law enforcement.”

June 13th was 10 days before the big shooting. 10News asked law enforcement expert and former police officer Kevin LaChapelle what "legally deficient" means. “It means that the District Attorney's Office felt that there was insufficient evidence or insufficient information that a judge would not grant a search warrant,” he explained.

10News asked the DA’s Office why it turned down the FBI’s request to do a search warrant, but the DA’s Office will not answer that question, stating it's "exempt from disclosure".

LaChapelle said this may have been a lesson learned the hard way, for the DA’s Office. He explained that the DA’s Office may reevaluate when it’s appropriate to seek a warrant. “It may help them start saying [a warrant] didn't meet [certain] criteria but it met this.

It didn't meet a [level] 10 but it was at like a 7 and gosh, maybe [the DA’s Office needs] to start looking at this more so we can prevent these kinds of things,” he added. The FBI declined to comment about Monday’s story. San Diego Police have taken the lead on investigating the shootout. As of Monday morning, a lieutenant with the Homicide division said the investigation is still open and active and will probably take another couple of months to finish.