Mental competency evaluation ordered for Clairemont SWAT standoff suspect

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A mental competency evaluation was ordered Thursday for a 33-year-old man accused of trying to gun down police officers during a Clairemont-area SWAT standoff.

Hayden Abraham Gerson pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder of a police officer, interfering with an officer, and harm to, or interference with, a police dog causing great bodily injury.

Superior Court Judge Frederick Maguire suspended criminal proceedings after defense attorney Michael Pancer said he had a doubt as to his client’s mental competency.

A hearing was scheduled for Feb. 22.

Police said officers responded to the 1400 block of Mount St. Helens Drive shortly after 9 p.m. on Dec. 12 to investigate a disturbance between a man and woman in front of a home.

While being questioned, Gerson allegedly became belligerent, ran into the house and retrieved a handgun. The officers took cover and called for backup from a special weapons and tactics unit, and Gerson went back into the residence, police said.

The SWAT personnel were in the process of taking up positions around the house when Gerson allegedly opened fire on two of them, prompting an exchange of gunfire that left no one wounded. A short time later, Gerson came out of the residence unarmed.

As officers took him into custody, he became combative, punching and choking one officer and attacking a service dog before being zapped with an electric stun gun and taken into custody, Lt. Mike Holden said.

Around dawn, a hazardous-materials team and a bomb squad were called to the house after police found barrels with an unknown liquid inside, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. They gave an all-clear about two hours later, although authorities did not disclose what was found in the containers.

Gerson faces 44 years to life in prison if convicted.

Categories: Local San Diego News