Police search vehicle in I-8 standoff; no suspect found - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Police search vehicle in I-8 standoff; no suspect found

Posted: Updated:

LA MESA (CNS / CBS 8) - Police took up positions Tuesday afternoon around a parked car believed to be occupied by a home-invasion robbery suspect alongside Interstate 8 in La Mesa, creating a standoff that tangled rush-hour traffic for miles until officers smashed the windows of the sedan and pried open its trunk, apparently finding the vehicle unoccupied.

Police say the unnamed suspect was wanted for an armed home invasion robbery in the area. Robbery detective had planned to detain and question the ex-con at a scheduled meeting with his parole officer Tuesday afternoon.

However, authorities say the suspect phoned his parole officer at around 4pm, claiming his car had broken down alongside Interstate 8. When officers arrived on the scene, they say they couldn't tell if anyone was inside the car because of its tinted windows.

"We had to assume the suspect was armed and dangerous," said Lt. David Rohowits, "based on the crimes he's alleged to have committed."

Officers began surrounding the dark-colored car with their guns drawn on the south side of the freeway, near Severin Drive, shortly after 4:30 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. It was unclear if police had pulled over the car or if they found it stopped on the shoulder of the freeway.

Officers shouted for anyone inside the car, which had black-tinted windows, to exit and surrender, and closed the two nearest lanes on the interstate while police took up positions around the vehicle with guns drawn.

The stalemate continued for more than two hours and created stop-and-go freeway congestion for miles to the west.

Shortly before 6:30 p.m., officers approached the car carrying portable shields, smashed out its windows and used a pry bar to partially open the trunk.

The sedan apparently was unoccupied, San Diego Police Department Officer Dino Delimitros said just before 7 p.m., though he added that he was awaiting more complete information from the field.

THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. For an earlier version, read below.

LA MESA (CNS) - A home-invasion robbery suspect refused to exit his car Tuesday afternoon after officers pulled him over on Interstate 8 in La Mesa, prompting an armed standoff that tangled traffic for miles along the commuter route.

San Diego police pulled over the suspect on the eastbound side of the freeway near Severin Drive shortly after 4:30 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

The man ignored officers' orders to exit the dark-colored sedan, prompting them to close the two nearest lanes on the interstate while police took up positions around the suspect's vehicle with guns drawn.

The stalemate was ongoing as of shortly before 6 p.m., by which time traffic on the freeway was heavily congested for miles to the west.

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