Authorities Tuesday publicly identified a City Heights man who gunned down a neighbor for unknown reasons last month and then pointed a pistol at responding officers, prompting them to shoot and kill him.
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Ronnie Kong, 32, opened fire on 62-year-old Juan Gudino Lopez at a residential complex in the 3800 block of Euclid Avenue about 3:30 p.m. on May 29, then fled into his nearby upstairs apartment, according to San Diego police.
After responding officers carried Lopez to a safe place, medics took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, said Lt. Matt Dobbs.
Police then surrounded Kong’s residence “and began gathering resources to deal with a possibly barricaded murder suspect,” the lieutenant said.
“As the incident developed, it became clear the resources available to the patrol officers to safely deal with the situation had been exceeded,” Dobbs said. “The assistance of (a) SWAT team was requested.”
As the special weapons and tactics personnel were arriving and beginning to take up positions around his residence, Kong emerged from the apartment.
“The suspect was given directions to surrender, but he refused to cooperate,” Dobbs said. “The suspect walked halfway down the stairs towards the officers’ positions and challenged them to come get him before retreating back into his apartment.”
Kong remained holed up in the residence until about 5:45 p.m., when he emerged once more and began approaching police.
“The suspect again refused to cooperate with the directions being given by the officers,” the lieutenant said. “When the suspect had descended halfway down the stairs, he extended a pistol in the direction of the officers. Three officers fired their weapons at the suspect, striking him several times.”
Kong died at the scene.
Homicide detectives investigating the case subsequently learned that Kong’s mother had contacted police earlier in the week to report that he had threatened her with a handgun and fired off several rounds in their apartment.
Officers were in the process of preparing an arrest warrant and a gun- violence restraining order for Kong when the fatal shooting occurred, police said.
“The suspect’s mother told investigators her son wanted to be involved in a shooting with the police and to commit `suicide by cop,”‘ according to Dobbs.
The motive for the slaying of Lopez remains a mystery.
“The victim was a longtime handyman at the neighboring property, so (he and Kong) were not complete strangers,” Dobbs said. “We have no idea what led to the shooting.”
The names of the officers who fired on Kong have not yet been made public.
— City News Service
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