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San Diego Police: Man who led pursuit fatally shoots self, ending I-5 standoff

i5 standoff 05262021 kabc.png
Posted at 6:04 AM, May 26, 2021

(KGTV) -- A man suspected in a domestic violence incident led police on a chase before stopping on Interstate 5 just north of Camp Pendleton and prompting a standoff, and fatally shooting himself.

San Diego Police said officers were called to Central Avenue in the City Heights area at around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday after a 25-year-old woman claimed her 28-year-old boyfriend assaulted her at a nearby home. Officers looked for the man, but he had left the residence.

About two hours later, the man was spotted driving a white BMW SUV on northbound Interstate 15, near Interstate 8. When officers tried to pull the vehicle over, the driver sped away.

The white BMW SUV proceed to lead police on a pursuit on several freeways around San Diego County, eventually heading northbound on Interstate 5. At one point, officers deployed spike strips and flattened some of the vehicle's tires near I-5 at Del Mar Heights Rd. Another spike strip was deployed near I-5 and Carlsbad Village, SDPD said.

Two hours later, the man stopped on I-5 just south of the Orange County line near the Cristianitos Rd. exit. Despite officers trying to negotiate with him, he took off once again, police said.

As the SUV traveled north, the California Highway Patrol took over the pursuit until the vehicle pulled over near Basilone Road, near San Onofre State Beach, at around 3 a.m. Orange County Sheriff's SWAT officers were called in to contain the suspect's vehicle with armored vehicles.

The driver refused law enforcement orders to surrender, prompting a standoff that lasted through the Wednesday morning commute. At about 6:15 a.m., SDPD said the man tried to drive off again but was stopped by armored vehicles. Before officers could get him to surrender, he shot himself in the head.

He was taken to an Orange County hospital, where he died. His name was not released.

San Diego officers who responded to the City Heights home say the woman told officers her boyfriend has hit her in the head with an ax, strangled her, tied her up, and sexually assaulted her over a two-day period. During that time, police said the woman claimed he was going to buy a gun and would kill her if police were called. When he left the apartment, the woman escaped and alerted neighbors who then called SDPD, police added.

SDPD said officers discovered the woman has sustained two broken ribs, swelling to her face, and had bruises all over her body.

The law enforcement activity forced the closure of all northbound lanes between Basilone Road and Cristianitos Road, and triggered a Sig Alert for the area. Just after 6:50 a.m., all northbound I-5 lanes at Cristianitos Road were reopened, but the southbound lanes were shut down "until further notice," the CHP said. By 8:25 a.m., Caltrans said all southbound and northbound I-5 lanes at Cristianitos Road were open again.

Map coordinates from CHP: