A man suspected of stealing a motorcycle led Oceanside police on a brief chase Friday afternoon, then jumped into a small boat on the San Luis Rey River and refused to surrender for about seven hours, said police officials.
The confrontation ended around 11 p.m. when the man finally gave up and dropped a handgun in the water, allowing officers to safely approach and take him into custody, a said Oceanside Police spokeswoman Jennifer Atenza.
The ordeal began shortly after 3 p.m. Friday when an officer spotted the man, who is believed to be wanted on a felony warrant, riding a stolen sports motorcycle, Atenza said. The officer attempted to arrest the man, but he headed for the San Luis Rey River Trail between Foussat Road and Benet Road.
Atenza did not have details of how he ended up in the boat, but said she believed he fell on the small craft and jumped into it.
Helicopter images from 10News showed the man sitting and standing on the boat as it floated near the middle of the river near a thicket of reeds and brush about 20 feet from either bank.
On one shore, at least 10 police officers were visible, including several SWAT officers in tactical gear. Most of the police hid behind the tall brush along the bank. A law enforcement helicopter could be seen circling overhead, and a law enforcement drone circling closer overhead.
“We had an armed suspect in a body of water, which made it tactically very difficult to apprehend him safely,” Atenza said. “We asked him repeatedly over many hours to remove the weapon from his range.”
A crisis negotiation team responded to the river with the SWAT unit, Oceanside fire and lifeguards and a helicopter crew from the county sheriff’s department, Atenza said.
“Everyone has worked tirelessly to give him every chance to end this peacefully,” Atenza said. “They kept the dialogue going all night. They worked with him, talked to him. They were extremely patient. »
At around 11 p.m., the man placed a handgun in the bow of the boat and soon after pushed him into the water, allowing officers to approach and take him into custody, according to Atenza, who said no injuries were reported.
“We’re really grateful that it came to a peaceful conclusion,” she said.
The man, whose name was not released Friday evening, will likely face multiple charges, including vehicle theft, Atenza said. He should also be imprisoned under the felony warrant.