Gunman surrenders at San Diego complex

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — A gunman in a rooftop apartment surrendered to police Wednesday after a more than five-hour standoff that interrupted air traffic at the San Diego airport.

The domestic violence suspect with a high-powered rifle shot off numerous rounds inside his complex near the San Diego International Airport, prompting the Federal Aviation Administration to halt planes from landing as a precaution.

The suspect walked out of the complex and was taken into custody around 2:30 p.m. — hours after officers swarmed the building and exchanged gunfire with him, San Diego Police Lt. Scott Wahl told The Associated Press. No one was reported hurt.

The complex is under the airport's approach path, and planes swoop low near the suspect's neighborhood before landing. Departures were allowed, though their schedules were affected because there were no incoming flights.

The suspect opened fire on officers responding to a domestic violence call shortly after 9 a.m. at the complex in the trendy Bankers Hill neighborhood near downtown, Wahl said. The shots came "within inches" of striking the officers approaching the rooftop apartment, where the alleged domestic violence victim lived, he said.

The officers returned fire as they retreated.

Authorities asked people in the area to stay inside and keep away from windows as they surrounded the complex. Schools in the area were placed on lockdown.

Officers with assault rifles were seen running down the street, and gunshots were heard. Wahl said at one point the gunman was "shooting in all different directions." Wahl later said the suspect had moved to an area of the apartment where he no longer posed a risk to air traffic.

Tom Neu, who lives next door to the rooftop apartment, told reporters he was working at home on his computer when he heard a bang. He went to his balcony, saw a hole in the stucco wall that separates his apartment from the suspect's, and called 911.

For about 40 minutes, he cowered in his bathtub, talking to friends and co-workers on his cellphone. He said it was terrifying.

"You're thinking, 'I might get shot and killed in my own bathtub,'" he said.

Neu heard numerous gunshots and loud booming before a SWAT team came to his unit. Police gave him instructions over the phone on where to walk inside the apartment, and rescuers led him downstairs.

Neu didn't know the suspect but said the two exchanged greetings in passing. The suspect did not live at the complex, authorities said.

Erik Carstensen was on a Southwest flight from Chicago that was diverted to an airport in Ontario, outside Los Angeles. Passengers were told there was a security problem at the airport, but people on the Internet soon spread the news of the gunman. Carstensen said his wife was at the airport at the time.

"I was a little worried for her until I learned he was not at the airport," he said. "But it's worrisome, the whole thing."


This story has been corrected to show the suspect does not live at the apartment complex.