Apologetic family says accused cop killer used to be a hero - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Apologetic family says accused cop killer used to be a hero

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Officer Christopher Wilson was shot and killed while accompanying U.S. Marshals to do a probation-compliance check on a man at the Canyon View Apartments. Officer Christopher Wilson was shot and killed while accompanying U.S. Marshals to do a probation-compliance check on a man at the Canyon View Apartments.
Holim Lee and Lucky Xayasene Holim Lee and Lucky Xayasene

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The parents of a man suspected of killing a San Diego police officer said their son was an ex-Coast Guard hero who got involved with drugs and crime.

Police have not identified the man and woman who were found dead Thursday, hours after exchanging gunfire with officers serving an arrest warrant at an apartment.

However, the parents of Holim Lee, 30, issued a statement apologizing for their son's actions and offering condolences to the family of slain Officer Christopher Wilson.

"We are horrified by the circumstances," the family statement said. "We are also mourning and we are so sorry this happened."

Hyon Lee and Jumok Lee told the San Diego Union-Tribune their son was a decorated ex-Coast Guard member who in 2001 was honored for rescuing an elderly couple from their burning apartment.

Police said the man and woman were barricaded in the San Diego apartment when the man opened fire on officers, killing Wilson. The couple were later found dead in the apartment. The newspaper identified the woman as Lucky Xayasene.

Police have not released the names because the medical examiner has not positively identified them, Lt. Andra Brown said Friday.

A police dog named Monty was injured during the shootout and will recover, Brown said. But because of its injuries, the dog might have lost his sense of smell and wouldn't be able to return to police work.

Arrangements were still being made for Wilson's funeral, but Brown said it likely would be held next Thursday.

Wilson, 50, had two children and was a 17-year veteran of the city police force who was known for teaching rookies to be respectful of others and for his care for the homeless who wandered his southeastern district.

Wilson was killed during an eight-hour standoff at Lee's apartment.

When it was over, police found the two bodies in a back bedroom littered with guns. Brown said investigators were still working to determine if the two people were killed by police, committed suicide or were involved in a murder suicide.

Police went to the apartment with two warrants for Lee's arrest. Issued July 30, one warrant accused him of assault with a deadly weapon. They also had an Oct. 19 warrant for violating terms of his parole in an armed robbery case.

Lee was placed on three years' probation in September 2007 after pleading guilty to robbery of an inhabited dwelling.

Lee's parents said their son was a caring man when the robbery occurred but was under the influence of drugs.

His lawyer told the Union-Tribune that Lee played a minor role in the robbery and in a plea agreement, charges of burglary and tampering with a phone line or cable line were dropped.

Relatives and ministers from two churches wrote letters urging leniency and he was sentenced to a year in county jail and probation.

Lee was cited by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department for saving a couple from a burning building on Oct. 12, 2001.

His friend Aimee de Jesus Juanitas said Lee was passing the building with another person when they saw the fire and used a trash bin to help the couple jump from a second-story window.

Lee joined the Coast Guard shortly after that, on Feb. 12, 2002, and held the rank of seaman, said Coast Guard Lt. Sean Groark. Lee received a general discharge Dec. 17, 2005, and was a storekeeper, which involves handling supplies, procurement and inventory.

Groark didn't know where Lee was stationed or whether he had any commendations.

___

Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune



This is an update to the story. Check back soon for further information. An earlier story is below.

SAN DIEGO (AP/CBS 8) — A shootout at a Skyline-area apartment left three people dead Thursday, including a city police officer, and sent scores of residents running in their pajamas into the darkness as gunshots rang out.

Christopher Wilson, a 17-year veteran of the city police force, was fatally shot in the confrontation that began Wednesday night, when San Diego County officers and U.S. marshals went to check on a man on probation and serve an arrest warrant on another at the Canyon View Apartments at 479 South Meadowbrook Drive.

After the man on probation slammed the door in their faces, officers pushed their way into the apartment and arrested him, said Assistant Police Chief Jim Collins. Four other suspects ran into a back bedroom, including the man wanted on the warrant, he said.

Officers got backup from the San Diego police department and pushed their way in a back bedroom, where they were met with gunfire, Collins said.

Wilson was fatally shot in the living room as police ran for cover. Three officers fired back, while two officers fled to a back bedroom and eventually escaped out a window, Collins said.

Fellow officers carried Wilson down the stairs from the second-story apartment as police banged on residents' doors, yelling, "Get out! Get out!" witnesses said.

A 26-year-old father of two who only identified himself as Luis listened to the confrontation from his downstairs apartment. "I just heard like a big boom, then they exchanged some words, then I heard, 'Officer down! Officer down!'" said Luis.

He told The Associated Press that he looked out his window and saw officers carrying Wilson, who was covered in blood. He yelled for his wife and two young children, and was preparing to make an escape when officers banged on his door.

"It was pretty scary," said Luis, who fled without putting on his shoes.

Luis said his family joined about 50 men, women and children who were running, crouched down, to the other side of the complex, under the crackle of gunfire. Some were in pajamas and slippers.

They later made their way to a supermarket parking lot across the street, where they spent the night after the nearly eight-hour standoff continued until shortly after dawn.

After a SWAT team tossed a non-destructive grenade to make a loud noise and flash of light inside the apartment, a man and woman inside notified police that they wanted to come out. They were detained for questioning, Collins said. An hour later, police shot tear gas into the apartment.

When no one else emerged after 90 minutes, police crept back into the apartment, Collins said, where officers discovered a man and woman fatally shot on the floor, which was littered with guns.

It was not immediately clear whether the two people committed suicide or died during the shootout, Collins said. He also did not know how many weapons were found in the home.

Family and friends identify the man and woman who were found dead as 30-year-old Holim Lee and his girlfriend, Lucky Xayasene.

Lee, a Paradise Hills resident and Morse High School graduate, had an arrest warrant for felony assault with a deadly weapon, as well as a bench warrant for armed robbery.

Lee's family tells News 8 they are "horrified" by the circumstances, and "extend their deepest condolences" to Officer Wilson's family.

Police have not released the suspects' names or details about them, saying they were investigating. Police also did now know how the man on probation was related to the man wanted on the warrant or to the women.

Wilson, who had served in the Navy, patrolled the southeast working class neighborhood called Skyline for years. He recently helped train rookies on treating residents respectfully, police said.

"Every mayor and police chief dreads a day like today," said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders at a news conference. He said the father of two teenage children "was popular, funny and extremely bright."

"You always knew Officer Wilson had your back," said Sanders, who had to stop after becoming choked up.

A police dog named Monty also was shot in the mouth but was recovering, Collins said.

A trust fund has been established by the San Diego Police Officers Association for Officer Wilson's family. Click HERE for more information.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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