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Most Wanted Fugitive Hearing Delayed

Ramiro Espinoza was arrested after a SWAT standoff in the 300 block of Elkwood Avenue in Imperial Beach after he allegedly tried to kill his ex-girlfriend in San Ysidro.

Onlookers behind sheriff's tape in the 300 block of Elkwood Avenue an hour after the start of a SWAT standoff involving Ramiro Espinoza. Photo credit: Khari Johnson
Onlookers behind sheriff's tape in the 300 block of Elkwood Avenue an hour after the start of a SWAT standoff involving Ramiro Espinoza. Photo credit: Khari Johnson

A preliminary hearing was postponed Tuesday to Jan. 30 for a man who was one of San Diego County's top 10 most wanted fugitives when he was arrested after a roughly eight-hour SWAT standoff in Imperial Beach last summer.

Ramiro Espinoza, 35, is charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting his ex-girlfriend in the head, neck and chest while her 4-year-old child was present in the 1800 block of Smythe Avenue in San Ysidro on May 24. The 28-year-old victim, whose name was withheld, was hospitalized in critical condition but survived. Her child was unhurt.

Aside from attempted murder, the defendant is charged with corporal injury to a spouse or roommate with allegations of great bodily injury, the use of a gun, assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse and being a felon with a gun. He faces 40 years and four months in prison if convicted.

Espinoza, who has a history of drug and domestic violence arrests, is being held in lieu of $3 million bail.

He was arrested in the 300 block of Elkwood Avenue about 1:15 a.m. July 26. A deputy responding to a report of gunfire about 5:10 p.m. the previous day chased after Espinoza, who jumped a fence and temporarily got away, according to San Diego County sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Caldwell.

Deputies sealed off the area, evacuated about two dozen homes and searched door-to-door until Espinoza was found and taken into custody.

Initial reports were none of the four shots fired that day came from sheriff's deputies but an investigation by sheriff's detectives found that three of the four shots fired came from a deputy's weapon. The fourth shot was fired by a local resident.

Espinoza plead not guilty at his July 29 arraignment.


-City News Service contributed to this report.

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