The Coast News Group
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore speaks during a press conference in Encinitas in a 2013 file photo. Photo by Tony Cagala

Sheriff speaks out against violence

ENCINITAS — “I believe that we were very lucky,” said Capt. Duncan Fraser of the Sheriff’s Central Investigations Division referring to the outcome of a nearly 10-hour-long standoff in Encinitas that saw two Encinitas Sheriff’s deputies wounded, and the suspect, 22-year-old Evan Kim Tian Kwik taking his own life. 

According to Fraser, Kwik died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in the early morning hours of Feb. 21. His body was found in the attic of the residence on Del Rio Avenue where he had been barricaded since Feb. 20.

As of Feb. 21 no autopsy has been scheduled and the medical examiner’s office has yet to confirm the cause of death; the investigation is listed as ongoing.

“What we know is that in the early afternoon, the suspect went home and confronted his mother about the fact that she had just obtained a restraining order against him and he was very upset,” Fraser said.

“He left the residence after stealing her car, and she called it in as a stolen vehicle and explained to us what was happening. A short while later, he returned back to the residence and that’s when the deputies made contact with the mother who allowed them entry into the residence to try to locate her son and to deal with him,” Fraser said.

According to the most recent temporary restraining order taken out against him by his mother, it sites that Kwik was suicidal, armed with a knife and was in possession of a chemical agent known as bear spray, said Fraser.

There had been no prior arrests or jail time for Kwik, Fraser said, but added that deputies did have contact with him in December of last year and he was taken in for psychological evaluation following a 911 call from the residence, reporting that he was suicidal.

During the standoff there was some communications between Kwik and negotiators, which Fraser described as “unsuccessful.” He said that negotiators had an open line with Kwik for quite a while, but that there were several comments he was making about suicide and that he was not willing to cooperate with us.

Law enforcement did recover a 12-gauge shotgun and a cache of approximately 30 unused shotgun shells near the body of Kwik. A background check is being done on the ownership of the gun.

Six rounds were fired in total, during the standoff; five rounds were fired at deputies, and the last round was the self-inflicted gunshot, Fraser said.

He added that law enforcement did not return fire because they didn’t have a clear view of the suspect, or know if there was anybody in the house at the time.

During the initial contact, two deputies were wounded while trying to make contact with Kwik.

Deputy James Steinmeyer, 31, was wounded in the face, but was treated and released from Scripps La Jolla. He remains at home recovering. Steinmeyer has been a Sheriff’s deputy for nearly three years and is assigned to the Encinitas Sheriff’s station.

Deputy Colin Snodgrass, 27, sustained extensive damage to his right knee, including veins, arteries and nerves. He’s had at least two surgeries and the prognosis is good, said Sheriff Bill gore. Snodgrass has been with Sheriff’s department for nearly four years.

During the Feb. 21 press conference, Gore expressed anger over the last several weeks of violence being carried out by people with guns.

“At what point do we have some kind of dialog and address some common sense, I think, responses to the violence that we’re seeing in our society,” he said. “And I think we can have that conversation without talking about people’s 2nd Amendment rights, but having some common sense solutions.”

Gore also said that in most cases the people giving the most beds to those with mental health issues are the jailers.

“There’s something wrong with our society when that’s the case,” he said. “Twenty five percent of the 5,500 inmates that we have in our jail right now are on some type of psychotropic drug. That tells you the type of mental illness we’re dealing with out there.

“To not start addressing those issues, looking at the mental health care we have in this country and leaving those very significant societal problems to law enforcement is a gigantic mistake and we’re paying for it, I think, with the violence we’re seeing in our communities right now.”

Fraser wanted to remind the public about the county’s Crisis Hotline for anybody who is having mental health issues, feels suicidal or needs to talk to somebody about pressing issues. The phone number is (888) 724-7240.