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Suspect shot to death by police after robbery, assault at Morena market

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Posted at 11:51 AM, May 20, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A man was shot and killed by police after a robbery and assault at a Morena market near the University of San Diego, officials said.

The incident began when the suspect entered the store in the 1000 block of Morena Boulevard at around 10:40 a.m. Officers were called for a reported robbery as the suspect walked out with chips and soda without paying.

When the female employee tried to stop him, the suspect brandished a knife and fled.

Lt. Mike Krugh said officers observed a man matching the description of a suspect carrying a knife in the 5300 block of Napa Street. They tried to detain him and used a Taser on the suspect, but it was ineffective.

The suspect continued to flee to an encampment in the 5300 block of Friars Round, where he grabbed a man and held him hostage by holding a knife to the man's neck, Krugh said.

During the confrontation, three police officers fired at the suspect, striking him at least once. Officers immediately began life-saving measures until paramedics arrived, but the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

The hostage was not injured in the incident, and no officers were injured, according to the San Diego Police Department.

The officers involved in the shooting have been employed by the San Diego Police Department for twelve, one and a half, and six and a half years, respectively.

Two of the officers are patrol officers assigned to the Western Division, while the third is assigned to the San Diego Police Department's Neighborhood Policing Team.

"The officers involved in the shooting have been identified as Matthew Steinbach, Michael Howells, and Justin Tellam," the department said.

The 33-year-old suspect has been identified, but his identity hasn't been released pending family notification.

At this stage, the motivation and circumstances of the shooting are still under investigation. Once the Homicide Unit completes its investigation, the findings will be reviewed by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office to determine if the officers bear any criminal liability for their actions.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Homicide Unit at (858) 285-6330 or after hours at (858) 565-5200.

Watch video of the incident in the player below:

WARNING: The video graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.