Police released the name of the man Friday accused of shooting his neighbor 19 times before sparking a 10-hour-long standoff with law enforcement at an apartment complex in Chula Vista, south of downtown San Diego.
According to the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD), Michael Majerus, 42, shot and killed neighbor Nicholas Reynolds, 43, at the Mission Gardens apartment complex located at 160 E Street on Thursday morning. Witnesses told police the men had a long-standing dispute over neighborhood issues.
Police said Majerus shot Reynolds 19 times with an AR-15 rifle as Reynolds was getting into his car at the apartment complex.
After the deadly rounds were fired, Majerus barricaded himself inside his apartment along with his wife, Laura, and two young children, still armed with the AR-15.
Dozens of police officers and SWAT officials surrounded the apartment complex and crisis negotiators were called in as a lengthy standoff with Majerus ensued.
A number of other agencies were called in for backup, including the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the San Diego Police Department and National City Police Department.
Officials shut down major roads in the area and evacuated dozens of residents from the apartment complex as the standoff unfolded.
MTS assisted in transporting evacuees to the nearby Norman Park Senior Center where the residents remained for hours. The American Red Cross provided food to the evacuees and police officers throughout the very long day.
After hours of on-again off-again negotiations with the suspect and sending a direct message to Majerus via news cameras, the suspect released his wife and the children from the apartment at around 3:35 p.m. They were unharmed.
Majerus remained holed up inside the apartment.
About an hour later, three shots rang out. CVPD Lt. Fritz Reber said the first came from a police test canon shot. The second was inside the apartment and did not come from officers. The third was a flash bang grenade that shattered a window so the SWAT team could send in two robots and check on the suspect.
One robot spotted a man down in an upstairs room, and a SWAT team soon followed to confirm. They found Majerus dead inside from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Police said two other handguns were found inside the apartment.
Investigators believe there was no verbal argument before Majerus shot his neighbor. According to the CVPD, officers had been called on two prior occasions to the apartment complex regarding the ongoing dispute between the neighbors.
However, in both instances, police determined there was no crime and no police report was filed. Police confirmed Majerus had no significant criminal history.
The deadly shooting remains under investigation. No other residents or law enforcement were injured in the standoff.