San Diego police on Thursday released video footage of the fatal shooting by two SWAT officers of a rifle-wielding fugitive at the end of an 11-hour standoff at San Diego High School.
The images, captured aboard a patrol helicopter and by officers’ uniform-worn cameras, depict the April 13 last stand of Christopher Templo Marquez, a suspect in two recent South Bay shootings.
The edited video shows a portion of the chase that led to the standoff, Marquez’s arrival at the high school and his wanderings around campus with his girlfriend, Janeth Iriarte, before they decided to hide in a large trash bin.
At some point weather conditions forced the helicopter to depart, police said. The video then shifts to the points of view of two officers, though neither had a direct view of the Dumpster.
The special weapons and tactics personnel opened fire on Marquez, 36, when he appeared to threaten Iriarte, 33, with a rifle as they took refuge in the bin, on the southwest corner of the East Village campus.
At one point an officer said Iriarte “wants to go. He doesn’t want to let her is what it looks like.” She was “kinda crying,” he added, and later said, “zero doubt that he’s got a gun in his right hand.”
Another officer said, “so, this is like a classic hostage situation from what we’re seeing up here.” According to the time stamp of the officer’s video, the shooting takes place almost nine minutes later.
The incident began the night before when Iriarte allegedly refused to yield when National City police tried to pull her over near Interstate 805 and South 43rd Street, San Diego police Lt. Matt Dobbs said.
During an ensuing road chase – which passed through several communities from Loma Portal to downtown San Diego – Marquez, Dobbs said, allegedly fired on pursuing officers in three locations:
- Near the intersection of Nimitz and West Point Loma boulevards,
- In the area of A Street and 10th Avenue, and
- At the school where the driver ultimately pulled over.
No one was injured in those shootings.
The final burst of gunfire from the suspects’ vehicle prompted a National City officer to shoot back, according to police. It was unclear if Marquez was wounded by the return fire.
After Iriarte pulled to a stop on a football field at the campus, she and Marquez jumped out of the car and ran, armed with a rifle and a handgun, and holed up in the garbage bin, Dobbs said.
Police crisis counselors tried in vain through the night and into the early-morning to persuade the couple to surrender.
As the stalemate wore on, Marquez “became more agitated” and finally “turned his anger” toward Iriarte, according to Dobbs.
“(Iriarte) attempted to escape from the dumpster on several occasions, but (Marquez) pulled her back in,” the lieutenant alleged. “During the course of the negotiations, the woman surrendered (the) handgun in exchange for water.”
Special weapons and tactics personnel, meanwhile, took up elevated positions that allowed them to see into the large trash receptacle and hear what the suspects were saying.
“(Marquez) eventually made (threatening) comments and pushed (Iriarte) into a position where they believed he was going to shoot her,” Dobbs said. “When the officers saw (him) maneuvering a rifle towards the woman, two SWAT officers fired their service weapons at the man, striking him.”
Iriarte surrendered, uninjured. Officers arrested her on suspicion of auto theft, possession of a stolen vehicle and false identification, identity theft, and being an accessory to a crime after the fact.
Marquez’s capture had been a high priority for local law enforcement agencies over the last month, during which he allegedly fired on a bail bondsman and police officers on separate occasions, March 15 and April 5.
Note: Photo credit – Iriarte is helped from a garbage bin by police after the fatal shooting. Screen shot, San Diego Police Department, via YouTube
City News Service contributed to this report.