Spring Valley SWAT standoff ends after suspect not found, police believe suspect connected to Gaslamp shooting of off-duty sheriff’s deputy

SPRING VALLEY (KUSI) —  A SWAT team and San Diego police officers surrounded a home in Spring Valley Wednesday, believing the suspect who shot an off-duty deputy in the Gaslamp District Monday morning was inside.

San Diego police went to the house in the 1600 block of Tarleton Street in Spring Valley Wednesday at about 3 p.m. searching for 37-year-old Ray Pitoau, who they believe shot Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Philpot in a seemingly unprovoked attack.

After SWAT arrived on scene and entered the residence, Pitoau was not found inside, leaving the investigation ongoing. 

Related Link: Off-duty Sheriff’s deputy shot in Gaslamp, search for suspects continue

On Monday, Sheriff’s Deputy Philpot was walking with a group of people, including two off-duty Escondido police officers, when a long-haired man armed with a pistol confronted them in the 500 block of Island Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter at about 1:15 a.m. 

Philpot tried in vain to wrest away the weapon, and during the struggle it repeatedly discharged, wounding him three times in the shoulder, Officer John Buttle said. A man walking nearby was injured in the arm by an apparent stray round.

Medics took Philpot to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest. The other victim drove himself to a hospital, SDPD Lt. Ernesto Servin said. Both were expected to recover.

It was unclear what prompted the violence.

"We know there was a confrontation,” Servin told reporters. "But what was said? We don’t know exactly.”

Investigators were reviewing images of the incident captured by surveillance cameras at several businesses in the busy downtown district two blocks south of Westfield Horton Plaza mall.

The assailant may have been with a companion at the time of the fracas, according to Servin.

"We think there may have been two (men), based on the video, but right now we’re focused on the individual with the gun,” the lieutenant said.

Pitoau is described as a Samoan male, 5’11", 225 pounds with an SD tattoo on his chest and long, dark hair styled in braids. He is to be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the San Diego Police Department at 619 531-2000 or San Diego Crime Stoppers Anonymous Tip Line at (888) 580-8477. Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000.00 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Categories: Local San Diego News