Thursday, July 21, 2005
Pat Koehl, a property manager for the company that operates Westberry Apartments, 531 W. Berry St., said Escobedo had been a seventh-floor tenant for about two months, and had a roommate who has been out of town since Friday.
She received calls Tuesday from residents wanting to know what was going on, especially when police fired tear gas canisters into Escobedo’s apartment window after attempts to coax him out failed. When officers first arrived at Escobedo’s apartment, he refused to let them inside. The decision to use tear gas was made because Escobedo had a 9 mm semiautomatic weapon with a firing range that could extend to area buildings, Police Chief Rusty York said.
“He was very emotionally unstable when we tried to talk with him,” York said. “And he informed us that there had been drug use throughout the evening.”
York said a hostage negotiator talking to Escobedo via cellular phone was in contact with other negotiators feeding him background on Escobedo. Among the people they talked to were mental health professionals who might have worked with Escobedo in the past. York said he was unsure whether Escobedo’s family members had been contacted before he was shot.
Officers fired two separate rounds of chemical gas after negotiations to bring Escobedo out peacefully failed. At that point, Martin and Brown entered the apartment and found Escobedo in a closet pointing a gun at himself. He refused to drop the weapon, instead pointing it at Brown and Martin, who both fired on him in response.
Thompson said the situation become more dangerous as people began arriving for work downtown. She said when traffic picked up about 8 a.m., public safety became a concern.
The N-S's Amy Soper talks to Escobedo's co-workers, who sound surprised as his behavior and wish they could have done something to help him. A tragedy all around.