A man suspected of taking a homeowner hostage in a Tierrasanta home was charged Wednesday with 18 felonies, including burglary, kidnapping and assault with a firearm.
Demetrius Trussell, 40, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of holding a woman at gunpoint inside her home, where he allegedly also exposed himself to the resident. He was arrested following a standoff with police, in which one officer opened fire on Trussell, though the suspect was not struck.
On Wednesday, prosecutors alleged that within the same 24-hour period, Trussell committed five residential burglaries and attempted to break into two other homes.
Trussell was slated to be arraigned on Wednesday, but was not produced in court. He is due back in court on Friday to see if he might then enter his plea to the 18 felony counts, as well as a misdemeanor sexual battery count.
Police said the first reported crime occurred at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday when someone tried to break into a Rueda Drive home, then fled in a white minivan.
About a half-hour later, a man was seen trying to break into a home on La Cuenta Drive, according to Lt. Jud Campbell of the San Diego Police Department.
At 2:18 a.m., police received a call that a man had broken into a residence in the 10900 block of Viacha Drive. As officers arrived, they could see a white minivan in the driveway, which had previously been reported stolen in a carjacking and matched the description from the first radio call, Campbell said.
At the Viacha Drive home, a 53-year-old woman barricaded herself in a room with her father.
Per body camera footage released Wednesday by the department, Trussell allegedly broke through a door into the room where the homeowner was hiding, leading officers to enter the home.
Once inside, officers encountered the suspect holding a gun to the woman’s head in the upstairs bedroom, the video shows.
During the ensuing standoff, police said Trussell fired at least one round in the room, but no one was struck.
Through audio recordings released by police, Trussell can allegedly be overheard telling officers that the incident had escalated to a hostage situation, “cause I don’t have no way out so I gotta take a hostage with me.”
Trussell also threatens to shoot the woman in the kneecap if the officers don’t back off, according to the audio recording.
After the gunshot is fired in the room, allegedly by Trussell, police say the hostage claimed the shot was an accidental discharge.
SDPD Officer Patrick Richards, an eight-year member of the department, fired multiple rounds from a nearby rooftop, though Trussell wasn’t hit, Campbell said. The suspect then dropped to the floor, threw the gun away, and was taken into custody.
Another officer was also able to climb up onto a balcony and retrieve the homeowner’s father prior to Trussell’s arrest, police said.
Trussell remains in custody without bail.