SAN GABRIEL (CBSLA) – Smoke and flames were visible inside a home in San Gabriel where a man allegedly got into an exchange of gunfire with police Thursday afternoon.
Authorities converged on the home near Saxon Avenue and Brighton Street, where a man with a shotgun reportedly fired shots and may have assaulted a relative.
Officials said they exchanged gunfire with the suspect. Later, after an hours-long standoff that included fires, fireworks, rubber bullets, a robotic officer, SWAT and a neighborhood evacuation, the suspect was declared dead.
The suspect is believed to be a homeless man who sometimes showed up at the house that is owned by a relative. Family allegedly told authorities the homeless relative became angry and believed people were out to do him harm.
The incident allegedly began around 12 p.m. on the 2000 block of Brighton Street.
In a story that had just about everything ever seen in a barricade situation — SWAT, flames, deputies, crisis negotiators, a shirtless suspect — there were also fireworks. At some point the flames touched off what appeared to be a large cache of fireworks many of them shooting into the sky.
The westbound 10 Freeway was closed at San Gabriel Boulevard shortly after 4 p.m. after authorities said the suspect began firing his weapon in the direction of the freeway.
Smoke was visible coming from a home near the barricade situation. Deputies surrounded the house.
Stu Mundel in Sky9 said the smoke did not emanate from a smoke bomb or grenade and was not the result of anything done by deputies.
Later, sheriff’s theorized the man set fire to three buildings on the property, including the main house.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Sara Donchey reported that because officials believed firefighters were in harms way, SWAT team members manned hoses to try to put the fires out.
Meanwhile, residents who had been told to shelter in place are now being evacuated, Mundel reported.
A shirtless man believed to be the suspect could be seen leaving the residence and ducking in and out of backyards in nearby homes where he appeared to try to break into several of them.
A robotic officer with a camera attached was also visible.
At one point, the suspect was clearly down in the backyard. It was not clear if the man shot himself or was taken down by SWAT.
“There was one deputy shooter [that] discharged 4-5 rounds. However at this time, it is unclear if they struck the suspect or if the wounds were self-inflicted,” said LA County Sheriff’s Dept. Lt. Rodney Moore.
Earlier, they shot the man with non-lethal force, believed to be rubber bullets, in an effort to subdue him.
The homeless man was pronounced dead at the scene.
The investigation is ongoing, authorities said.
While some neighbors were evacuated during the hours-long ordeal, many others were kept behind police lines and couldn’t return him.
“Really shocked,” said Ana Garcia, “and surprised and scared. Because I did hear, like I don’t know, if it was fireworks or maybe shots going off.”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.