San Diego, CA – The district attorney released bodycam videos from a wild gunfight in a condo building near San Diego State University that left two officers wounded and the gunman dead (video below).
The incident occurred at about 10:16 p.m. on June 23, 2018 when officers responded to call for a “violent disturbance” at the Tuscany Place apartments in the 4800 block of Rolando Court, according to a press release put out afterwards by the San Diego Police Department.
Nobody answered the door at the apartment when officers arrived, and they could smell smoke coming from inside, the release said.
The police called firefighters to “evaluate” the situation, and when they arrived, they made entry to the unit with the officers.
The bodycam video showed a firefighter using a halligan bar to pop open the door to the condo.
Seconds after he got the door open and stepped back and away from it, 28-year old Joe M. Darwish opened fire into the hallway with a "large caliber" weapon, the video showed.
San Diego Police Officer Dan Bihum was shot during the initial burst of gunfire.
Officers Francisco Roman and Shawn Boggeman returned fire, KUSI reported.
The bodycam video showed Officer Bihum drop to the ground after he was shot in the back.
At first, he was unable to move, the video showed.
“Danny, get back,” one of the officers told Officer Bihum.
“I can’t move,” the officer replied in the video.
The officers engaged in a gun battle with Darwish as they tried to escape and evacuate the wounded Officer Bihum.
After a few seconds, Officer Bihum was able to roll onto his stomach and crawl away from the source of the gunfire, the video showed.
“Come on Danny,” one officer encouraged him. “Danny, crawl. Crawl. Come on, you got it. Come on, crawl Danny. Get out.”
Officer Bihum’s own bodycam showed the terrifying crawl he made, under fire, to try to save his own life.
The officers backed, and crawled, to the end of the hall where they were trapped against glass windows that overlooked the entrance to the building.
In the video, one of the officers said he was trying to figure out how to break the windows so they could escape.
Bodycam videos from officers outside the building showed a harrowing few minutes as the two officers trapped in the line of fire struggled to break themselves out of the building.
“We need a unit with a ladder for an extraction,” an officer tells the dispatcher.
Through the window is a view of Officer Bihum on the ground and Officer Roman in a kneeling position with his weapon pointed in the direction of the gunman.
“Stay down bud,” an officer told Officer Bihum through the window.
“Get a long rifle,” another officer yelled.
A moment later, he handed a ballistic shield through the window to Officer Bihum.
“Give me a f--king long gun,” one of the officers yelled to other officers on the scene.
That’s when Darwish opened fire on the trapped officers yet again.
“Oh shit,” one of the outside officers yelled as bullets ripped down the hallway.
“Hey, give me the long gun,” an officer called out in the video
“We’ve gotta have one now!” another officer yelled.
The gun battle continued for several seconds with Officer Bihum and Roman trapped.
Then the outside officers discussed how to free their fellow officers. One of them suggested that they kick out the window, and the other officer reminded him that the officer was down.
But Officer Bihum heard their idea and managed to turn himself around and begin kicking out the window and its frame, the video showed.
Then the officer began crawling out the window, the video showed.
“Long drop. You’ve got a long drop,” an officer warned.
The video showed how, one after the other, the wounded officers dropped more than 12 feet to the ground to escape the line of fire.
Officer Roman had been shot during the gun battle, too.
Both wounded officers survived their injuries.
Eventually, the shooting stopped and officers found Darwish dead inside his condo from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said in a press release.
Police said Darwish had also been wounded in the arm and the face by an officer's shotgun shots.
The gunman was wearing a ballistic vest and armed with a homemade “assault rifle” and a homemade 9 mm pistol, neither of which had a serial number or was registered.
The District Attorney’s Office investigated and determined the officers had been justified in their use of force against Darwish, the San Diego police said in their press release.
"This harrowing incident shows just how quickly a routine call for service can turn deadly for police officers who suddenly found themselves in the line of fire, trying to protect their wounded fellow officers and keep the shooter from endangering members of the public," District Attorney Summer Stephan said. "It's a tribute to these officers' bravery and quick response that the gunman didn't injure more people or kill the officers and firefighters involved."
Watch the bodycam videos of the terrifying gunfight below. WARNING - Graphic Content: