San Diego, CA – Video footage has been released of a terrifying shootout that took place near San Diego State University, and ended with two police officers wounded (video below).
A press release from the San Diego Police Department said that officers responded to call for a “violent disturbance” at the Tuscany Place apartments in the 4800 block of Rolando Court at about 10:16 p.m. on June 23.
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.
Police and firefighters were met with a barrage of gunfire when the door opened, according to the press release.
San Diego Police Officers Francisco Roman and Dan Bihum were both shot, and Officer Roman and Officer Shawn Boggeman returned fire, KUSI reported.
At that point, officers and firefighters retreated, and the wounded officers were transported to the hospital.
A standoff ensued, and the SWAT team arrived and took up positions around the suspect’s apartment, according to KUSI.
After several hours, the SWAT team made entry to the apartment and found the suspect, 28-year old Joe M. Darwish of San Diego, dead inside, the press release said.
It was not yet known whether the suspect was hit by police gunfire, or took his own life, according to KGTV.
Officer Roman, a 3-year veteran of the San Diego PD, remained in stable condition at Scripps Mercy Hospital recovering from his wounds. Officer Bihum, an 18-year veteran of the force, had already been released and was recovering at home.
Neighbors said the suspect was “mentally ill and violent,” and said they’d called the police about him multiple times.
"We moved because of him. He was often violent and aggressive," one woman told KGTV.
Another neighbor said she had heard Darwish yelling and banging on walls, and had always worried that he might be armed. She said she believed he had been institutionalized following an episode where he hurt another neighbor 18 months before.
Neighbors said the homeowners association had told them they couldn't do anything about Darwish because he owned his condominium, The San Diego Union Tribune reported.
A disturbing compilation video of the incident, filmed by bystanders and news crews, was released by San Diego News Video on June 24, and showed officers evacuating police and firefighters from the apartment building using a ladder.
The video began with the sound of gunfire being exchanged between police and Darwish. The person filming has a view of the front of the building where the incident occurred from a balcony.
As a victim was rushed from the building towards rescue vehicles, the person filming realizes that an officer was shot.
“Ohhh, they got a cop, bro. They shot a cop,” he said. “This s--t has me all f--ked up.
The video also showed news footage of the scene that night, including officers assisting elderly and disabled residents of the building to safety in the middle of the chaos.
In the video, the street nearby showed more than 100 police and rescue vehicles with their lights flashing.
At the seven-and-a-half minute mark on the video, there began a series of interviews with witnesses and neighbors. All of them said the police had been called on the suspect numerous times.
“Short white dude. Weird looking, you’ll know,” one neighbor replied when he was asked to describe Darwish.
One woman said she had been keeping an eye on the suspect, although she didn’t know him.
“I looked up his name and I found some pictures of him. And he has pictures of him with an assault rifle,” the woman said. “And I was just wanting people to know that he was dangerous.”
“And I called the police officer that was involved with him before, and I let him know. So they were going to look into it,” she continued. “But I definitely saw those pictures of him. And his name was Joseph Darwish.”
A teenage boy who was interviewed said he heard an argument in the parking lot shortly before the incident began.
When he heard gunfire, he said he rushed to get his younger siblings inside before he went back to film the incident.
“That’s basically all I saw tonight. Just gunshots, and horror,” he said in the video.
You can see the videos of the scene, and the interviews with neighbors, here below: