DHS: Marathon SWAT standoff ends with no one in home

(screengrab: KESQ)

A SWAT standoff at a Desert Hot Springs home ended early Tuesday morning when police discovered there was no one inside the house.

The standoff began about 11 a.m. on Monday and ended about 3:30 a.m. when Riverside County SWAT Team members entered the home on 6th street near Palm Drive and did not find any suspects.

The Desert Sun reports that investigators were looking for a suspect in an assault with a deadly weapon, but specific details on that incident were not released.

Earlier Monday, Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Michelle Ploesch said someone was inside a home with a gun. She said she did not know the suspect’s gender or whether anyone else was inside the home.

Authorities evacuated nearby homes shortly after the standoff began, Ploesch said.

For part of the afternoon, an officer on a megaphone warned occupants that the home was surrounded and told someone inside to “come out with your hands up.” A police helicopter circled overhead.

But, no one came out of the home.  SWAT vehicles and law enforcement surrounded the house throughout the evening, reports The Desert Sun, and police became more aggressive:

Officers began repeating the call for occupants to exit the house around 9:30 p.m., announcing that they had a search warrant. No one left the house.

Over the next hour, officers threw three flash-bang grenades — weapons that stun but don’t seriously injure people nearby — toward the house. They sent a robotic vehicle inside. Finally, around 10:30 p.m., they struck the fence with a battering ram.

A neighbor of the surrounded home, Richard Burkett, said he believes a large family lives there.

“They’re really nice people,” Burkett told the Desert Sun. “We’re more rowdy than they are.”

Update: Police believed the suspect accused in the Nov. 12 shooting at  Guy J. Tedesco Park, which injured 2 men, was inside the house, reports The Desert Sun.  The man is described as a gang member and wanted parolee.

Police said they proceeded with caution because they were pursuing someone they thought may have been involved in a shooting moments earlier.