Gunfire erupted Monday at a motel in La Mesa when agents with the U.S. Marshals Service tried to arrest a fugitive, prompting a six-hour standoff that ended when the man was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted bullet wound.

The initial shooting occurred in the 4200 block of Spring Street in La Mesa about 10 a.m., after which the suspect, identified as 40-year-old Robert DeLeon, holed up in a room at the Rodeway Inn along with a woman and refused to surrender, police Lt. Matt Nicholass told reporters.

Officers evacuated the building, blocked off surrounding traffic lanes and called in a sheriff’s SWAT team to try to capture DeLeon.

The personnel fired tear gas into the room about 2:30 p.m. and the woman exited moments later. Officers handcuffed her and escorted her away.

Roughly a half-hour later, officers entered and found the suspect dead. He appeared to have shot himself in the head, Nicholass said.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Steve Jurman told news crews DeLeon was a documented gang member on probation in a federal methamphetamine-trafficking case.

–City News Service

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