A man suspected of shooting two deputies Wednesday before apparently dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound was deemed to be suicidal during a psychiatric evaluation in December, San Diego Sheriff’s Captain Duncan Fraser said Thursday.
Evan Kim Tian Kwik, 22, is accused of using a 12-gauge shotgun to shoot two Encinitas-based deputies from an attic crawlspace Wednesday afternoon, prompting a 10-hour standoff. Officials said the mother, Michelle Kwik reported Kwik was upset that she filed a restraining order against him.
In that restraining order, Kwik was described as suicidal, armed with a knife and in possession of a chemical agent called "bear spray," sheriff's Capt. Duncan Fraser told reporters at a news conference. It also said Kwik had a drug addiction.
The restraining order also quoted Michelle Kwik as saying "I truly believe there is a very large chance he will die on his own or maybe take his own life," according to a U-T San Diego report.
She said "authorities had refused on some occasions to come to her house to take reports on her son’s auto thefts" and that he "threatened to kill himself with a spear gun or suicide by cop," according to the U-T report.
The standoff began shortly after 3:30 p.m. at Kwik's mother's home in Encinitas. Several deputies entered the home with the mother's consent and established verbal contact with Kwik.
"They spent several minutes making verbal communication with him—telling him to surrender, to come down," Fraser said. "From what we understand, there was an exchange between the deputies and the suspect, which led them to believe it was going to become volatile, at which point they deployed some pepper spray in the area."
The suspect then fired five rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun, striking Deputy Colin Snodgrass and Deputy James Steinmeyer, according to Fraser. Deputies did not return fire.
Crisis negotiators and SWAT teams from around the county flocked to the scene, and for several hours, negotiators were in contact with the suspect.
The standoff ended after robots were sent into the home to check on the suspect, Fraser said.
"Shortly after 1:30 this morning, after a nearly 10-hour SWAT standoff, members of the sheriff's Special Enforcement Detail SWAT were able to make entry into the residence, where they discovered the body of Kwik," Fraser said. "He was dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The cause and manner of death will be confirmed by the county medical examiner's office."
Fraser said the sheriff's department had no record of Kwik being booked into jail, however deputies contacted him in December, when he was taken into custody for a psychiatric evaluation stemming from a 911 call reporting he was suicidal.
Deputies had also been called for a couple other incidents, including one involving vandalism to the residence.
During the standoff, about 25 area-residents were displaced by the police activity. Fraser noted that what was believed to be a pellet from one of the rounds fired was found lodged in a neighboring home's couch.
“It was a very dangerous and volatile situation that changed from minute to minute,” he said.
Snodgrass, 27, suffered a leg wound and is being treated at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. Snodgrass, a deputy of almost four years, is scheduled to be married next month, according to an online wedding registry.
Steinmeyer, 31, suffered a minor wound to the face and was released that same day. He joined the department in 2010.
"We are extremely thankful that both deputies survived this attack," Fraser said.
Sheriff Bill Gore called for a conversation on how to reduce the gun violence that has plagued Southern California in recent weeks. He spoke in favor of universal background checks and increased mental health coverage.
-City News Service contributed to this report
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