Man accused of firing at Sheriff’s Deputies in Vista, pleads not guilty

VISTA (KUSI) – A Pauma Valley man accused of ambushing three San Diego County sheriff’s deputies at his home in a rural area near Casino Pauma, sparking a nearly six-hour standoff in which he suffered a gunshot wound, pleaded not guilty today to three counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm on a peace officer.

Jose Nieto, 28, was ordered held on $1 million bail. He faces 33 years and eight months in prison if convicted, Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said.

The standoff began about 4:15 p.m. Dec. 20, when deputies Cory Crawford, Jared Muli and John Avedesian went to a home in the 156-00 block of Adams Drive in response to a a 911 call from a man who said “he needed help and didn’t feel safe in his home.”

As the three deputies approached the front door of the home, they were met with gunfire, said sheriff’s Lt. Rich Williams.

The deputies returned fire, established a perimeter around the home and called for backup, including a SWAT team. Nearby residents were evacuated from their homes and surrounding streets were shut down. The deputies were not injured.

Authorities spent hours trying to establish communication with the gunman, but when that was unsuccessful, the SWAT team entered the home about 10 p.m. and found Nieto inside with a gunshot wound to his lower body, for which he was hospitalized, Williams said.

Nieto will be back in court Jan. 22 for a readiness conference and Jan. 24 for a preliminary hearing.

Categories: Local San Diego News