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South Bay shooting suspect dead after standoff at San Diego High School

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Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 20:31:59-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A man suspected in two shootings in the South Bay within the last month was shot and killed by SWAT officers Tuesday during a lengthy standoff on the campus of San Diego High School.

San Diego police officials confirmed 36-year-old Christopher Marquez was fatally shot by two SWAT officers Tuesday morning. Officials said Marquez was seen carrying a weapon they described as a rifle.

According to police, SWAT officers at the scene had a clear view of the dumpster where Marquez and an unidentified woman were hiding following a pursuit Monday evening.

However, police said officers observed the woman screaming, apparently begging Marquez not to shoot her. They also saw Marquez push her to the ground before he raised his weapon.

Fearing that Marquez would harm the woman, the officers opened fire at him. The suspect was struck and was declared dead at the scene; the woman was not injured.

The situation began at around 8:15 p.m. Monday when National City police officers spotted Marquez in a car near a McDonald's restaurant on Paradise Valley Road in the Bay Terraces area. When officers tried to pull the car over, the vehicle sped away.

At one point during the pursuit, someone inside the suspect vehicle fired one shot out of the back window at pursuing law enforcement vehicles near Nimitz and Point Loma boulevards in Ocean Beach, San Diego police Officer John Buttle said. Someone inside the vehicle opened fire on law enforcement again near state Route 163 and 10th Avenue in downtown San Diego.

The pursuit lasted until 8:45 p.m., when the suspect vehicle stopped on the football field of Balboa Stadium on the San Diego High School campus, located on Park Boulevard, Buttle said.

Shots were fired at officers a third time near the San Diego High School campus and one National City police officer returned fire, National City police Capt. Alex Hernandez said.

San Diego police said Marquez and an unidentified woman got into a large dumpster together as authorities and a SWAT unit converged. Police noted, "As the occupants of the car ran from the vehicle on foot, a rifle and a handgun were seen."

Marquez and the woman remained inside the container for several hours. According to police, Marquez refused orders to come out and claimed to be in possession of a firearm and drugs.

As police attempted to negotiate for the pair's surrender, officials said Marquez "became more agitated and apparently turned his anger towards the woman with him. The woman attempted to escape from the dumpster on several occasions, but the man pulled her back in. During the course of the negotiations, the woman surrendered a handgun in exchange for water."

Police said: "As the situation continued to evolve, SWAT officers were in an elevated position which allowed them to partially see inside the dumpster. Officers could also hear what was being said from inside. The man eventually made comments and pushed the woman into a position where they believed he was going to shoot her. When the officers saw the man maneuvering a rifle towards the woman, two SWAT officers fired their service weapons at the man striking him."

The woman was not identified by police. It remains unclear if she will face any charges.

SDPD’s Homicide Unit is leading the investigation; the department's Internal Affairs Unit will investigate the events that led the two officers to fire their service weapons. National City police will assist in the investigation and also look into “their officer’s discharge of his firearm.”

Marquez is the suspect in the shooting of a bounty hunter in Chula Vista on March 15. Two bounty hunters were attempting to serve a felony warrant on Marquez at a home when he allegedly opened fire and then fled the area.

Jeremy Clark, the bounty hunter injured in the shooting, said that Marquez has “shown no regard for anyone’s life. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to get away.”

The warrant served in March was connected to a previous standoff on Outer Road near Coronado Avenue in south San Diego a few years ago. That standoff ended peacefully after Marquez surrendered following several tense hours.

On April 5, Marquez allegedly shot at National City police officers during a traffic stop outside of a Jack in the Box restaurant on Roosevelt Avenue in National City.

Police believed the car Marquez was in was stolen, prompting the stop. Two women from inside the vehicle surrendered, but Marquez got out of the car and ran away.

As he fled, police said Marquez shot at pursuing officers. Officers fired back at Marquez, but they were unable to find him after the gunfire exchange.

Because of the heavy law enforcement response, San Diego Unified School District officials said Tuesday classes at San Diego High, East Village Middle College High School, and Garfield High School were moved online.

Officials added any events and activities on the respective campuses were canceled for the day.

Nearby San Diego City College, already on a limited on-campus schedule, suspended its morning classes in light of the standoff. The school may possibly resume classes later in the day.

City News Service contributed to this report