A San Diego police cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

A wanted parolee spotted perched on a bridge over the San Diego River in the Morena area Tuesday refused to surrender when officers approached, prompting a six-hour standoff that ended after he jumped into the waterway and made a failed attempt to swim to freedom.

The presence of the man on the edge of the elevated section of Morena Boulevard north of Interstate 8 was reported shortly after 10:30 a.m. by a person concerned that he might be suicidal and planning to jump, according to police.

When patrol personnel arrived, the parolee — who was the subject of a prior arrest warrant and carrying what appeared to be a tire iron — was uncooperative and defiant, at one point telling officers he would strike them with his makeshift weapon if they closed in on him.

Authorities shut down the I-8 on- and off-ramps to Morena Boulevard and a stretch of that surface street between Friars Road and Taylor Street as officers tried to persuade the man to give himself up.

The stalemate continued until shortly after 3:30 p.m., when the parolee walked off the bridge and fled on a footpath to the east toward a set of baseball fields, according to police. When officers gave chase, he ran to the nearby river, jumped in and swam off.

Following another confrontation during which police and city lifeguards doused the suspect several with pepper spray as he stood and waded in the water, officers were able to get him into custody shortly after 4:30 p.m. His name was not immediately available.

All the closed traffic lanes closed due to the standoff were expected to be reopened in short order, Officer John Buttle said.

— City News Service

Show comments