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One person in custody after police respond to theft at Palomar Medical Center Escondido

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-17 09:45:32-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — A three hour police chase coming to an end Friday evening after the suspect was arrested. Police responded to Palomar Medical Center Escondido on Friday after hospital security reported a theft, and an officer heard what they believed to be a gunshot.

The call of a gunshot came in for the 500 block of Allenwood Lane just after 3 p.m., located behind Palomar Medical Center Escondido, according to San Diego Sheriff's Department and Escondido Police Department.

According to a spokesperson from Palomar Medical Center, a hospital security guard witnessed the theft of a bag from a staff member and police were called. The theft was reportedly observed on video surveillance by hospital security.

Police arrived and tried to take the suspect, later identified as Matthew Cisneros, into custody but he fled, according to the spokesperson. There were no shots fired inside or on the hospital's property. The spokesperson added that there has been no impact on the hospital's operations or a lockdown.

“We had officers searching for him up on the hillside and they heard a single gun shot," shares Lieutenant Craig Miller with Escondido Police.

Escondido Police Lt. Bode Berreth said the suspect was reportedly visiting the hospital at the time of the theft. A responding officer heard what sounded like a gunshot after the suspect fled, but no one saw if anyone fired a gun, Lt. Berreth added.

Lt. Miller furthers that police still do not know what, who or where exactly that shot was fired, and they are still searching for the firearm.

After Cisneros was said to have fled the hospital, he was spotted in one neighborhood near Chateau Place in Escondido. Tabitha Bueltel, one of the neighbors says she saw it all, “We heard the chopper basically, which you hear sometimes because of the hospital, but this one said we are looking for this person, be weary.”

Bueltel who lives across the street was organizing after just moving into her home this May. After hearing the commotion, she went outside, “[And] One of the neighbors said "Oh I saw him in the yard".”

“We got reports from neighbors of sightings in the backyards" shares Lieutenant Miller, "And then at the point we arrested him, the resident said he walked into the garage and said he wanted to surrender.”

The 18 year old suspect left the homeowners garage, saying the words 'I love you baby girl,' into what appeared to be his cellphone on the ground next to him.

The barefooted suspect went willingly with police, which is something residents like Bueltel are grateful for, “I am glad he finally surrendered, I mean at some point you’ve gotta realize okay I am not getting out of here.”

Shortly after 6 p.m., the suspect was detained by police. The homeowner of the home where he was found, told Escondido Police that Cisneros wanted to surrender.

According to Escondido police, the stolen backpack and some items were recovered, after Cisneros dropped it while fleeing, and hospital security recovered the items.

Neighbors in the area tell ABC10 that they are thankful all of them communicated with one another when they saw Cisneros in one of the backyards.

Police have yet to release the charges Cisneros could face.

10News is monitoring this breaking news.