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Nearly 30-hour San Diego SWAT standoff ends with arrest of former CO

Police have not said why Reginald Smith, who retired from the CDCR in 2002, shot at police and refused to surrender


By David Hernandez
The San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO — A man accused of threatening neighbors with a gun and firing at least one round at San Diego officers was arrested Monday afternoon after a SWAT standoff that lasted about 29 hours in the Mountain View neighborhood, police said.

Officers entered the 68-year-old man’s home around 2:45 p.m. and took him into custody with the help of a police dog. He suffered minor injuries, police Lt. Adam Sharki said.

The incident began just after 8 a.m. Sunday after a 911 caller reported that the man had fired a gun at a home on T Street near South 45th Street. Officers responded but were unable to confirm whether someone fired a gun, Sharki said. About 8:50 p.m., other calls then trickled in reporting that the man was outside the home, waiving a gun at neighbors and threatening to kill them, Sharki said.

When patrol officers arrived, they asked the man to come out, but he refused. Police eventually called in a SWAT team and the department’s emergency negotiations team.

During the standoff Sunday, police used an armored vehicle to knock down fences on the property, then set off tear gas in the home and used a loudspeaker to ask the man to walk out and surrender, according to video from OnScene TV.

About 4:45 p.m., the man fired at officers, who were not hurt and did not return fire, Sharki said. At that point the department asked residents in the area to shelter in place. On Monday morning, Sharki said officers were on hand to escort residents who wanted or needed to leave their homes.

“We’re giving him every opportunity to come out peacefully,” Sharki said Monday morning.

Heavily armed SWAT officers in tactical gear were staged around an armored vehicle outside the home Monday afternoon. Loud bangs, presumably from flash-bangs grenades, could be heard at the scene, according to OnScene TV footage.

It was unclear what prompted officers to enter the home to make the arrest. The man, identified as Reginald Smith, was treated at a hospital then booked into jail on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, making criminal threats, exhibiting a gun and resisting an officer.

The Police Department’s Homicide Unit was investigating the case because of the alleged attempted murder of a peace officer.

Standoffs that last more than a day are uncommon but not unheard of. At least two other times a standoff lasted more than 24 hours in San Diego County, according to Union-Tribune archives. Both situations involved hostages.

In 1990, an 18-year-old Colorado man held a night watchman at gunpoint in a Travelodge hotel room on Harbor Island for nearly 34 hours, until SWAT officers fired tear-gas canisters into the room and rushed inside.

Two years later, a homicide suspect held hostages at gunpoint at a Chula Vista medical clinic. He was arrested after a tense 26-hour standoff with police.

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