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Fugitive on Most Wanted List Arrested After 6-Hour SWAT Standoff in IB

Ramiro Espinoza was arrested early Friday at 357 Elkwood Ave. "without incident," said a brief sheriff's news release. Elkwood Avenue residents had been evacuated to Mar Vista High School.

Ramiro Espinoza is said to be the target of SWAT action.
Ramiro Espinoza is said to be the target of SWAT action.

Originally posted at 7 p.m. July 25, 2013

Written by Ken Stone with reporting by Khari Johnson

Six hours after a SWAT standoff began, a man on the sheriff's Most Wanted List was taken into custody at 1:17 a.m. Friday without incident, said a Sheriff's Department statement. 

Ramiro Espinoza "was arrested at 357 Elkwood in Imperial Beach," said a brief news release. "He will be transported to [San Diego Central Jail] for processing. No further details are available at this time." 

Residents of roughly 22 homes were evacuated to Mar Vista High School in the incident that began about 5:10 p.m. Thursday. 

Late Thursday night, neighbors reported hearing explosions.

Espinoza, 34, is on the San Diego Sheriff's Most Wanted list—sought on charges including attempted murder and domestic violence.

It is not known how long Espinoza had been in Imperial Beach, said sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Caldwell.

Around 5 p.m. Thursday the San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force arrived in the area in search of Espinoza.

"So they came down here and they started to call him out of the residence they believed he was in and at that point someone went over the back fence. We believe it was Espinoza and the chase, as it was, was on," Caldwell said. 

During the chase, three to four shots were fired.

"I'm not at liberty to say who fired the shots. It was not law enforcement," she said. An investigation into who fired the shots will take place after Espinoza is captured, Caldwell said hours before the arrest.

No law enforcement officers or Imperial Beach residents have been injured. It is not known if Espinoza has been shot.

"We don't know if he's been hit. We don't know if he's hurt. All we do know is he is armed and very dangerous," she said.

Law enforcement from Chula Vista, National City, Coronado, San Diego, Carlsbad, the Sheriff's Department and California Highway Patrol are on the scene.

An Imperial Beach public-safety official told IB Patch Espinoza was on the FBI's Most Wanted List as did John Skuce, next-door neighbor to the house being targeted, citing a SWAT officer.

Those earlier reports were incorrect, however, said sheriff's Lt. Clayton Lisk. 

Skuce, his wife and 9-year-old niece were evacuated about 8:30 p.m. from the house next to the one suspected of harboring Espinoza.

Skuce, 40, said he went to his sister's house several blocks away and described a scene where three dogs at the target home were barking furiously inside.

Officers knocked on the door and nobody answered, Skuce said.

He said the home was occupied by a woman about 30 and her boyfriend but wasn't sure if they were home.

10News showed law enforcers surrounding the home and aired witness comments that three shots were fired by authorities.

The woman who lives in the home declined to comment.

Authorities were "screaming at the gentleman to come out," said a witness who was identified by 10News as Tyrone C.

The home is just west of Mar Vista High School.

A June 13 report on CBS8.com said Espinoza was wanted for a May 24 incident in Bay Terraces in which "he showed up at his ex-girlfriend's home and shot her on the head, neck and chest in front of the victim's four-year-old daughter."

Crime Stoppers was offering a reward for information that led to an arrest.

"Ramiro Espinoza has a history of narcotics and domestic violence and has recently been involved in series of violent domestic crimes in multiple areas of the county including the Spring Valley area," said the sheriff's site. 

He reportedly frequents the South Bay and has a tattoo with “San Diego” on his stomach and tattoo picture of Jesus with thorn crown on his back. 

"He should be considered armed and dangerous," said the sheriff's site, which noted a $1 million warrant for his arrest.

Tim O'Neal July 26, 2013 at 04:06 AM
No chatter about IB on the police scanner either. It's eerily quiet compared to earlier in the day.
SunSand&Surf July 26, 2013 at 04:14 AM
Boom was thunder & lightning! It's now raining!!
Tim O'Neal July 26, 2013 at 04:28 AM
Resident Charlie Morris lives in the neighborhood and was not evacuated. He just posted the following response on Facebook when I asked if anybody had heard the "booms" from earlier....."yes it got me out of bed , he is hiding in the attic of the house, they keep telling him to come out and he wont be hurt" The house Charlie is referring to is 357 Elkwood.
Tim O'Neal July 26, 2013 at 04:30 AM
Charlie Morris just posted on Facebook that they got him at 1:17am. If this is true, this is great news!!!
Tim O'Neal July 26, 2013 at 04:50 AM
GREAT JOB LAW ENFORCEMENT!!! And to the residents of the affected area...great job staying strong and great job in helping facilitate the police with their search and evacuation of the area.
Nate July 26, 2013 at 04:51 AM
Truly folks, this was a hoax. A paramilitary training exercise. Media left before the loud "boomb". Such practices have been going on all over the nation. Do NOT react, they want you to react.
ibbchgrl July 26, 2013 at 05:03 AM
THEY CAUGHT HIM! AROUND 1230 AM THEY SENT THE ROBOT IN AND THREE FLASH BANG GRENADES WENT OFF ON ELKWOOD AVE, THEY THEN TOOK HIM INTO CUSTODY, HOORAY NOW WE CAN A SLEEP TO THE INCOMING RAIN!
Ken Stone July 26, 2013 at 05:06 AM
Yes to the query: The time stamp on article is Eastern time. It's a bug we're aware of and working to fix. Thanks for your patience!
barbara July 26, 2013 at 08:33 AM
Oh my. Did I really read this? The SD FUGITIVE Task Force arrived in IB "...and they started to call him out of the residence they believed he was in and at that point someone went over the back fence. We believe it was Espinoza..." Wow.
Ruth Eastburn July 26, 2013 at 11:54 AM
I hate to think the money that was wasted on gas for that helicopter that circled for straight 6 hours. Throw in tear gas ----mission accomplished.
Bil Black July 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM
still cracks me up that we can apprehend people so precisely but had to shut down the entire city of boston to find one teenager under martial law.
barbara July 26, 2013 at 01:33 PM
re. "throw in tear gas"... I appreciate that, for the homeowner's sake, police did not choose that option. I would have not been happy if a fugitive holed up in my house and police gassed it -- or worse.
Jeannette Shambaugh July 26, 2013 at 01:57 PM
So happy it is over this morning we are all safe and can get back to normal.. Playing outside in our safe town..;)
Ken July 26, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Hearing that helicopter was like having your neighbor mow his lawn for six hours straight. Fugitive was lucky he shot his ex multiple times in front of daughter. If he was a police whistle blower he wouldn't have come out alive. Now they can lock him up and throw away the key. Too bad he didn't run into the mayor's house. ;)
Nickolas Furr July 26, 2013 at 04:33 PM
There are some remarkably stupid comments on this thread. Do some of you actually believe that crap you're spewing, or are you just another batch of trolls?
Lenora Porcella July 26, 2013 at 04:54 PM
We got two calls and a text from the Sheriff telling us to lock our doors and wait for them to come and evacuate us. The message said to call 858 565 5200 for more information. At 11:00 pm, I was downtown wanting to come home, and called the number to see if I could or if our house was one of those supposed to be evacuated. I let the number ring for 30 minutes and no one answered. Then, shortly after midnight the helicopter left. I would think that 1) the Sheriff would have someone answering the phone number they told us to use and 2) that after hours of not knowing, helicopter noise, and hearing the bullhorn, that they could have used that same horn to say Goodnight... all is well again. So... the good news is that they contacted us. The bad news is that there is no information line for those involved and no follow up at the end. I understand it was a tense situation for the officers but this isn't their first rodeo and I would think that there would be a process that works better than this. A LOT more communication to the surrounding neighborhood would have been good.
Kendal Sharp July 26, 2013 at 11:14 PM
@nikolas what "crap" are you referring to?
Kendal Sharp July 26, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Thanking the IB sheriffs and surrounding Police Department along with the SWAT team. If you were not in the thick of it last night and your house and family were not affected then shut up.
IB Resident July 27, 2013 at 01:13 AM
I wanted to personally thank everyone especially the police and SWAT team for taking time to rescue my dogs before entering my property. My three pit bulls were trapped inside with this man for 8 hours. Yesterday around 6pm a guy hopped my fence, came into my house through a back door while nobody was home. My dogs must have chased him into the front room where he locked himself in. When this first started the police had said they seen dogs running over towards the front part of the house barking like crazy. But then would return to the bedroom and lay down. This went on for hours. I was two houses down at the time and I was scared for my dogs lives because I could not hear any barking nor howling from them. I was devastated. I thought they were dead inside the house for sure. My dogs mean so much to me and my family. My oldest dog is almost 16 years old. The SWAT team could have rushed inside my house. Instead, they opened up the door and let us call out for them so they would run to us without getting scared and trying to bite somebody. The two youngest ran to safety. The 16 year old did not understand what was going on so she walked back into the house and went straight to her bed. She walked outside after they threw in the 3 flash bang grenades. The SWAT team ran up, grabbed her and carried her to safety. The man was in fact found in the front bedroom of my house. THANK YOU AGAIN SWAT AND POLICE OFFICERS WHO CARED ENOUGH TO GET MY ANIMALS OUT FIRST.
Nickolas Furr July 27, 2013 at 01:18 AM
@kendal -- I'd say the ones that compared this incident to the Christopher Dorner one, the ones that said bashed the cops for everything from police abuse to incompetence, and most of all... the one claiming that this entire thing is a hoax. That's what I meant by 'crap.' Shall I explain more, or will that suffice?
Pat P July 27, 2013 at 01:18 AM
I am so happy to hear the police took great care to get your dogs out of there safely. These days, that is not always the case, especially with pit bulls. What a fool that man was, to break into a home guarded by 3 pit bulls. No wonder he was in that bedroom all that time. Your dogs were guarding your home, and I am very glad they are safe, especially the 16 yr old. That is a great age for a dog to live to.
Kendal Sharp July 27, 2013 at 01:29 AM
@nickolas no. I Agee I was not sure what you were getting at .@ IB Resident . We were so happy your dogs were ok. my brother who is your neighbor was super concerned last night
Armando Arciga Jr July 27, 2013 at 04:46 AM
Who cares they caught him.....
IB Resident July 27, 2013 at 01:42 PM
@Kendall...Thank you so much for your concern. All of my neighbors were sincerely concerned for my animals welfare. Everybody was super supportive during this time. Thank you guys again:)
IB Resident July 27, 2013 at 01:51 PM
@Pat... You are right. The cops did not have to put my animals first. It is sad to say but animals are not a priority. I was not sure how they would react to strange guys bursting into my house. If they did try to bite any of them they would have had to shoot them to protect themselves. That is why I am so overly appreciative to the amazing SWAT team who took that time to let us call out for them. And then took even longer trying to call my 16 year old out. Now that it is all over and everyone is safe I can think back and smile when I seen my 16 year old in the arms of the SWAT team running to safety. I guess she can check that one off of her bucket list lol.
IB Resident July 27, 2013 at 02:02 PM
http://youtu.be/8K9e0DTdXpQ This 10 minute video was shot from across the street. For anyone who wants to see how things occurred this is the most accurate video in my opinion. It has been edited but most of t is there.
Jeannette Shambaugh July 27, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Wow! AMAZING video!!! I cried the entire time. @IB Resident... I am sooooooo happy for you and your family! The reuniting of the dogs is the best part of the video.. You and your family are beautiful!!! My heart goes out to everyone involved with a huge THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! Give those doggies a treat for me <3
IB Resident July 28, 2013 at 08:28 PM
@Jeannette...Thank you!!! And my doggies thank you. They all were given treats today. And will get treats everyday from here on out:)
Sabrina Arce October 01, 2013 at 05:47 PM
That dude is a lucky motherfucker that nothing happened to my brother or Tina...I would of been in jail right now for murder charges if that stupid ass lame would of held my brother hostage or even did anything to harm my brother..thank god my brother had just left the house cuz otherwise we would of had some real violent situations going down n elkwoos street that night...!! He'll f I would have known that guy was on America's most wanted with a reward I might have gave his ass up if I would have known it was him when I seen him at burnt out old' eagles pad...my instincts told me there was something that just wasn't right with that guy...so I asked my BFF , what his name was...and he introduced his self as Ramiro or something similar to hat..but I seen his ass on Palm avenue before that time too..like a fuckin mad man lookin at the ongoing traffic all crazy..
Sabrina Arce October 01, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Might as well put it all on blast, right?

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