A 24-year-old man from the Navy was under guard at a hospital Tuesday with gunshot wounds he suffered over the weekend when an officer opened fire on him as he allegedly brandished an assault rifle at a downtown apartment building.
Esteban Nandin, who serves on the San Diego-based frigate USS Gary, is expected to recover from the shooting in the 600 block of Third Avenue, according to police. According to UT-San Diego, he is a second-class petty officer assigned to the Naval Amphibious Base.
Officers went to a six-story residential complex just south of Horton Plaza shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday on a report that a man clad in a tan military-style tactical vest and gas mask was walking around the building and grounds with a rifle in his hands, SDPD Lt. Jorge Duran said.
The patrol personnel entered the lobby and, as one of them opened the door to a stairwell leading to a garage, spotted the armed suspect, the lieutenant said.
When Nandin saw the officers, he allegedly began to raise the rifle towards them, prompting canine-unit Officer Charles Marciniak to fire two rounds.
The wounded suspect then retreated into the stairwell. Police repeatedly called out to him to surrender as they radioed for backup, including a SWAT team, and took up positions around the complex.
Almost an hour later, Nandin emerged from the building through a side exit, unarmed and bleeding. He was taken into custody and transported to UCSD Medical Center for chest and shoulder wounds that were not considered life-threatening.
Investigators found a loaded assault rifle, handgun, gas mask and military vest in the stairwell where the shooting took place, according to Duran.
It was unclear why Nandin, who lives by himself, allegedly was carrying the rifle and military gear around the building, though investigators believe he may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the lieutenant said.
The suspect apparently had been socializing at his residence with a friend late Saturday evening.
Nandin may be arraigned in his hospital room later this week, according to Duran.
Marciniak, an 18-year member of the San Diego Police Department, will be limited to desk duty pending completion of investigations in the case, as is standard in officer-involved shootings.
—City News Service