Armed Prowler Terrorizes 3 Tierrasanta Families Before SWAT Team Opens Fire and Arrests Him

Suspect led out of home
Police officers lead the suspect out of the home in Tierrasanta. Courtesy OnScene.TV

An armed prowler terrorized families at three homes in Tierrasanta early Saturday morning, taking a woman and her elderly father hostage and sexually assaulting her, before a SWAT team opened fire and the man was arrested.

Neither the two hostages or the suspect were hit in the exchange of gunfire during during the standoff.

Demetrius Trussell, 40, was booked into jail on suspicion of hot prowl burglary, kidnapping, false imprisonment with a hostage, negligent discharge of a firearm, possession of a stolen vehicle, indecent exposure, assault with the intent to commit a sex crime, sexual battery, multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and a parole hold, according to San Diego Police Lt. Jud Campbell.

At 12:30 a.m. Sunday, police received a report that someone tried to force entry into a residence in the 4000 block of Rueda Drive. The suspect was believed to have fled in a white minivan.

About 30 minutes later, they received a report that a man tried to force entry into another residence in Tierrasanta in the 5300 block of La Cuenta Drive.

At 2:18 a.m., police received a call that a man had broken into a residence in the 10900 block of Viacha Drive. The homeowner, a 53-year-old woman, had barricaded herself in a room with her father.

Campbell said preliminary information indicated the suspect broke into the room where the two were barricaded, produced a firearm and threatened the woman.

As officers arrived, they could see a white minivan in the driveway. It had previously been reported stolen in a carjacking. The van matched the description from the first radio call.

“Hearing screams from inside the residence, officers forced entry and confronted the suspect,” Campbell said. “Ignoring officers’ commands to surrender, the suspect took the victim hostage at gunpoint and forced her into another bedroom … The suspect exposed himself and sexually battered the homeowner multiple times.”

Officers took the homeowner’s father onto a balcony for protection, and began to negotiate with the suspect. At that point, the suspect fired his gun inside the room, without hitting anyone.

Shortly after that, an officer who had climbed onto a nearby rooftop used a rifle to fire multiple times at the suspect through a window, Campbell said. The suspect was not struck, but dropped to the floor, threw the gun away, and was taken into custody.

Investigators are collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses. Detectives were still working to establish that the suspect was the same in all three reported incidents.

Anyone with information regarding any of the three incidents was asked to call the Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

Updated at 2:50 p.m., Saturday, April 9, 2022

City News Service contributed to this article.

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