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Calif. Standoff Ends After 7 Hours with 2 Dead

July 07, 2011  | 

A father and son were found dead inside a Watsonville, Calif., home early Thursday, after a seven-hour stand-off involving about 40 law enforcement officers from municipal and county agencies.

Officers had responded to a family disturbance at the house at about 5:40 p.m. Wednesday. After knocking on the door, a Watsonville Police officer had a six-minute conversation with a man in his 40s, who told the officer his father was injured from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The officer followed the man into the home, where he saw an older man face down in a pool of blood who appeared lifeless. It was later determined he had a gunshot wound to the head. The man and officer then exchanged fire. Watsonville PD's Deputy Chief Rudy Escalante tells POLICE Magazine.

"The suspect broke free at the entryway, and the officer fired one shot toward the suspect, missing him as the suspect was closing the front door on the officer," Escalante said. "As the officer stepped out of the fatal funnel, at least seven rounds were fired through the front door from a .223-caliber rifle."

The officer wasn't hit and retreated.

During an ensuing standoff, a Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department bomb squad robot installed a listening device inside the house but police heard no sounds and didn't believe an exigency existed to enter the home, Deputy Chief Escalante told the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Around midnight, officers blew the lock off the front door and the robot put a camera inside. Deputies said they could see a shotgun on the floor. A half-hour later the SWAT team made entry and found both men dead with gunshot wounds to the head.

Officers recovered a .223 rifle with two extra magazines, a .45-caliber Glock with four magazines, and a 12-gauge shotgun with 40 rounds, Escalante said.

By Paul Clinton

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