Man Believed to Be a Deputy Barricades Self in House

Members of a SWAT team prepare to move in on a house in which a man was barricaded all day Wednesday and into Thursday. 24/7 Media photos...

Members of a SWAT team prepare to move in on a house in which a man was barricaded all day Wednesday and into Thursday.
24/7 Media photos: Doug Spoon and Kristen Spoon

Sheriff's deputies, officers from multiple police departments and SWAT teams evacuated residents from nearly two dozen homes in a French Valley neighborhood Wednesday because of a confrontation lasting into the early hours of Thursday with a man believed to be a deputy himself.

As of 2 a.m. Thursday, the suspect still had not exited from a home in the 35100 block of Nightingale Street, on the border of Murrieta and Winchester. The incident began about 11 a.m. Wednesday when police responded to the report of domestic violence. By the time SWAT teams and additional personnel were called in about 2 p.m., it was determined that other household members were safely away from the home and a man remained inside alone, authorities said.

Law enforcement officials wouldn't comment on the man's identity, but several friends and neighbors told 24/7 Media that the man is a Sheriff's deputy. Some said he is known to have a large amount of ammunition in the house. Residents of Nightingale Street who were home at the time were escorted about two blocks away to an area behind yellow police tape. Those arriving home from school or work were not allowed into their homes on that street.

Sheriff's deputy Armando Munoz told 24/7 Media at the scene that crisis negotiators were communicating with the man in an effort to resolve the incident peacefully. However, the man was still inside in the early morning hours of Thursday as a police helicopter circled overhead and officers waited in a large command post set up on nearby Bola Court.

Residents gathered outside the crime scene perimeter at the intersection of Bola Court and Pintail Way, one block east of Leon Road. They watched as a SWAT van loaded with heavily armed officers drove slowly down the road toward the house at least three times between about 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. Sounds believed to be flash bang devices and gas bombs were heard in the distance. A battering ram vehicle also was sent to the site but returned moments later, as did a robot device (above photo).

Still, the man remained inside.

As the drama unfolded, worried neighbors looked on, although no one could see the house two blocks to the east and around a corner. Many asked officers when they could return home. One woman was monitored by paramedics because she was unable to get to her medicine in her house. Several others said they had dogs locked in their homes for hours.

At about 1 a.m., Munoz said residents who were evacuated had been told they would not be able to return to their homes that night. Most appeared to leave for other lodging. There was no call for a Red Cross shelter, Munoz said.

We will update this story when possible.

Map shows the location of the residence, east of Leon Road near French Valley on the Murrieta-Winchester border.

A SWAT team armored battering ram vehicle was used during the standoff, but it was unclear how successful it was.

SWAT team vehicles await the command to move in toward the house.

Officers wait out the tense scene at a command post a couple blocks away, on Bola Court.

Neighbors watch from a distance as police play a waiting game with the suspect.


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