Shooting suspect surrenders after lengthy standoff near San Ramon

September 18, 2013 11:59:39 PM PDT
A SWAT team moved in as a suspected gunman gave himself up at a house near San Ramon where gunfire erupted as police served a foreclosure eviction. It was a dramatic ending to an armed standoff late Wednesday afternoon.

It all started just before 2 p.m. when a locksmith worked to open the door for sheriff's deputies. That's when a property manager was shot in the leg by someone inside that house. It happened in the gated community of Norris Canyon Estates on Ashborne Circle. That's near Interstate 680 and Bollinger Canyon Road.

An armored SWAT vehicle worked its way up to the front door of the house. At exactly 5:46 p.m. they had the man come out and surrender. Before that they had a piece of equipment at the front of the vehicle that basically pushed the door open. Then a few minutes later the man came out, got on the ground, and was then surrounded by a group of SWAT team members.

Before that, when all of this started, the suspect apparently was being served an eviction notice by what's called a civil restoration team. That's a division of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department. The property manager, a locksmith, and two sheriff's deputies went to the front door and tried to serve the notice. When they did not get an answer from inside, the locksmith began drilling the lock on the door. That's when someone inside fired a single shot that hit the property manager in the leg. His injury is not life threatening.

"This property was going to be restored to the rightful owner. In this case it was a bank. So this was a foreclosure eviction," said Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jimmy Lee.

For the next four hours, the man remained inside the house. A hostage negotiating team was brought in and made contact. But ultimately it was the SWAT team's armored vehicle that was able to push the door open and gas was released inside. The gunman was treated on the scene for gas exposure then taken to the hospital for further treatment before being booked.

Some residents say they had no idea what was going on because they weren't notified.

"We started immediately evacuating neighbors from the closest to the suspect's residence, that was immediate and then shortly thereafter we put out a TMS notification to about 40 or 50 residents to advise them to shelter in place," said Contra Costa County Assistant Sheriff Mark Williams.

Neighbor Kim Ratekin got the telephone emergency notification on her cellphone. She told us, "It just said there was police activity in the neighborhood and everyone should stay indoors."

But neighbor Karen Crabb says she didn't get the call and is concerned about the sheriff's office's response. She told us, "They didn't even tell the person who's right in front of it to shelter in."

"In today's day and age, it just goes to show that you have to be safe in your surroundings and safe wherever you are," said neighbor Otilia.


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