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Orange County

Suspect's Slaying Ends 5-Hour Orange Standoff

Crime: Police say they fatally shot Steve Coleman after he fired on them several times at his home.

November 18, 2001|TINA BORGATTA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange police shot and killed a man early Saturday after he fired at officers several times during a five-hour standoff, authorities said. No officers were injured.

The man's wife called authorities to their home on East Garfield Avenue shortly after 8:45 p.m. Friday. She told authorities that her husband, Steve Coleman, 48, had a rifle and a handgun and was threatening to kill her and himself.

"She was able to leave the home to call police," said Sgt. Dave Hill. "He wasn't holding her hostage, but he did point the gun at her. From the sound of it, she just ran out of the house."

After officers arrived, Coleman began firing, Hill said. "It wasn't like, 'Oh wow, a couple of shots are being fired,' " he said. "Rounds were whizzing by the officers' heads."

The department's Special Weapons and Tactics team responded, along with crisis negotiators, who attempted to coax Coleman from the house. Their telephone conversations were interrupted several times by shots fired between Coleman and officers, Hill said.

Nearby homes were evacuated, Hill said. The Red Cross set up a waiting room for residents at the nearby Orange Unified School District offices, where they stayed for several hours.

Coleman "could have [easily] fired a round into one of the homes," Hill said. "With the number of rounds that were fired, the crime scene covers a pretty large area."

The standoff ended shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, when Coleman stepped outside the home with his rifle pointed at officers, who fired at him. Fire Department paramedics pronounced Coleman dead at the scene.

Hill said the man had been upset over "medical problems."

The Police Department and the Orange County district attorney's office are investigating.

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