Escondido police expand search for gunman

ESCONDIDO (CNS) – Police surrounded a North County mobile home park and
fanned out en masse through surrounding areas Thursday after a man allegedly
threatened the lives of his ex-girlfriend her children, then opened fire on
pursuing officers.

The woman reported receiving the threats by telephone at Escondido
Terrace Mobile Home Park in the 1300 block of Oak Hill Drive on Wednesday
evening, and authorities immediately began searching the neighborhood for the
suspect, identified as 24-year-old Sergio Lopez, according to police.

About 12:30 a.m., patrol officers with a service dog spotted Lopez in
the area and chased him as he fled into the mobile home park.

The suspect allegedly fired two rounds from a pistol at police as he
ran, missing them, Loarie said.

Police then set up a perimeter around the mobile home park as SWAT
officers and sheriff's deputies searched for the suspect.

“And he's been hiding in this area ever since,” Loarie said.

About 11 a.m., police got a report that Lopez was in the area of an
apartment complex on San Pasqual Valley Road, just outside the police cordon.

“We have some people … across the street (who) said they spotted
him,” Loarie said. “We showed them (his) picture, and they said that's him,
so we're going to act on that.”

The intense, protracted police operation kept those who live and work in
the area on edge throughout the morning.

“I'm a little nervous now, because I can see two snipers up the hill
from us and big SWAT trucks driving around the park,” resident Nicole Miller
said in the mid-morning. Miller witnessed the incident unfolding from the

“I was actually awake because my baby woke up,” Miller said. “My
fiance and I heard a bunch of yelling, then two gunshots. We jumped up out of
bed and looked out the front window, thinking maybe there was a domestic fight,
but there was Escondido police running around with guns and dogs yelling for a
guy to come out.

“They had rifles drawn, then the police were telling people to go back
inside. Then SWAT showed up and had all their gear on.”

As of 10 a.m., the suspect apparently was alternately hiding and moving
around within the trailer park.

The mobile-home complex consists of about 80 or so coach spaces, Loarie
said, noting there were “thousands” of possible hiding spaces for the
suspect, from garbage cans and storage sheds to crawl spaces under the

Residents of the park and those living in surrounding areas were allowed
to leave at daybreak after officers searched their vehicles. However, no one
will be allowed back in until the incident is resolved, police said.

The lieutenant said anyone spotting the suspect should avoid
confronting him and immediately call 911.

“Stay on the phone with us, as long as you're in a position of
safety,” Loarie said. “Let us know. We'll have officers there within

Categories: KUSI