The name of a man who barricaded himself inside a San Gabriel home, then torched the house, fired shots at law enforcement and set off fireworks before being shot to death by deputies was made public Friday by the coroner’s office.
The suspect was identified as 35-year-old Jose Salvador Meza, whose relatives said was known as “Boy” to them.
“We call him Boy. That’s my (aunt’s) only son. That was Boy,” a man who identified himself as Meza’s cousin told KTLA5. “… It’s sad, you know. Sad that it went down like this. We all have our ups and downs, but he’s a human being.”
Officers responded about 12:30 p.m. Thursday to an address in the 2000 block of Brighton Street after a woman called 911 to report a man with a gun inside her home, authorities said.
When officers arrived at the home, Meza fired at officers, who returned fire, police said. The woman was able to escape from the home.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team was called to the scene and crisis negotiators made telephone contact with Meza, but he refused to surrender, authorities said.
About 5 p.m., smoke from a fire set by Meza could be seen coming from the primary residence on the property. At some point, Meza shirtless and holding a gun, ran to a second home on the property and tossed fireworks from inside.
Later flames could be seen coming from that structure.
Authorities used an unmanned vehicle to break out a window of the second home and toss what appeared to be gas into the structure.
Meza then jumped into a junked pickup truck on the property and later crawled out from under the truck and ran back to one of the homes with a cigarette in his mouth and a weapon in each hand.
A short time later, Meza emerged from a doorway of the home aiming what appeared to be a shotgun and was fatally wounded by deputies.
“When he exited the location, a confrontation occurred and he was put down by the SWAT containment personnel,” Jim Hellmold, chief of the sheriff’s department Special Operations Division, told reporters at the scene.
The home where the trouble began is believed to be that of a relative of the homeless Meza, who came to the residence two days ago, police said. The residence was badly damaged by fire as crews had to keep their distance until the standoff was over.
A nearby home was evacuated during the barricade and Special Enforcement Bureau deputies were seen helping people into an armored vehicle.
Other residents sheltered in place, according to a fire department captain.
Residents were allowed to re-enter the neighborhood on foot around 9 p.m., but vehicles were still prohibited in the area while detectives conducted their investigation.
Early on, the California Highway Patrol shut down westbound lanes of the San Bernardino (10) Freeway, about a block from the standoff site.
Eastbound lanes were later closed, causing major traffic backups.