Josh Hauptman, who lives in a nice condo in San Diego, was in his fifth-floor apartment getting ready for class when he was startled by a thumping noise from the apartment above him. Then he heard a shotgun blast. When he and his roommate went out into the hallway, they came face to face with a SWAT team.
They were there responding to an active shooter on the sixth floor.
“We started getting a little nervous,” Josh told the San Diego Tribune. “It was really close by. What if this is happening next to us or right above us? Those shots could go through our walls. What if he had a bomb? I told my roommate we needed to leave. I don’t live in a bad neighborhood. I don’t live in a bad building. So I was really surprised that this kind of event was happening. It didn’t fit the scene.”
The scene was hectic and dangerous and lasted for five hours, closing down an airport, a local school, and isolating residents of San Deigo’s Bankers Hill neighborhood in their homes while police exchanged gunfire with an unnamed shooter.
Five hours after it started, the shooter surrendered and was identified as Titus Nathan Colbert Jr., 33, of Las Vegas, a known gang member and brother to a convicted killer, NBC San Diego reported.
(The Daily Beast published a transcript of the day’s radio transmissions.)
It all began at 9:10 a.m. A scared woman called police to report that her ex-boyfriend had arrived at her San Diego condo. Two officers and a police dog responded to find a shattered sliding glass door; they entered the apartment. That’s when the shooter fired, narrowing missing the officers. They grabbed the woman, returned fire, and ran outside, then called for backup.
The standoff with the shooter and a barrage of bullets began. Police believed the shooter had a high-powered rifle, which he shot into the street, so residents were ordered to shelter in place as snipers moved in on rooftops nearby.
From then until about 3 p.m., negotiators tried to reason with the shooter as he sprayed the neighborhood with bullets. SWAT shot tear gas into his apartment and sent in a robot. Nearby streets were closed, schoolchildren were sent home early, and flights coming in and out of nearby Lindbergh Field were cancelled since the shooter’s apartment was directly in the flight path.
Finally, at 2:40 p.m., the shooter relinquished his weapons, tossing his magazine and an AK-47-type rifle out a window. San Diego police swiftly took the shooter into custody after he surrendered.
Thankfully, though several rounds were fired in the five-hour standoff, no one — cops or civilians — were injured, and neither was the shooter.
“We are so grateful, so thankful, no citizens, no officers, no one was injured,” said San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.
The shooter now faces a slew of charges — attempted murder on a police officer, possession of an assault rifle, and others. But these just add to a long list of crimes Colbert has committed, all of which came to light following this latest arrest.
The shooter is a documented member of a gang with territory in southeastern San Diego. Before arriving in the city, he was arrested twice in Maricopa County, Arizona, on shoplifting and assault charges. He also has a rap sheet in San Bernardino before he arrived in San Diego and was arrested on drug charges.
That case occurred in 2012, and he pleaded guilty to selling 20 Ecstasy pills to an undercover cop for $160. A week later, he was part of another drug deal at the In-N-Out drive-thru. He faced five felonies in that case and served a year for selling Ecstasy and transporting a controlled substance.
Colbert is also the brother of Tecumseh Colbert, a convicted killer on death row for a 2004 murder spree. In 2007, he was convicted of first-degree murder for killing an investment banker named Anthony McCamey outside his apartment and, two weeks later, a liquor store clerk named Richard Hammes.
[Photo via YouTube Screengrab]