No one was inside the home that authorities surrounded for more than 12 hours Monday in Desert Hot Springs, California.
Riverside County SWAT Team members entered the home in the 66-300 block of Sixth Street, but they did not find any suspects, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Investigators were looking for a suspect in an assault with a deadly weapon, but specific details on that incident were not released.
The standoff began at about 11 a.m. Monday and it lasted into Tuesday morning.
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.
At that time, Desert Hot Springs resident Cece Worshan believed at least two children — her twin 2-year-old niece and nephew — were inside the house police are surrounding. Worshan said a woman who lives in the house was watching her niece and nephew.
“I’m upset about this,” she said. “I don’t know exactly what’s going on.”
Richard Burkett lives across the street from the home police had surrounded. He believes a large family lives there.
“They’re really nice people,” Burkett said. “We’re more rowdy than they are.”
Burkett said he saw police with guns trained on the home before an officer asked him to leave the area.
By 6 p.m., Sixth Street residents began to wander past their street, wondering if they could return to their homes. Several Desert Hot Springs High School students said they were looking for families who had been evacuated, because their families wanted to offer them shelter.
As the evening progressed, several SWAT vehicles, an ambulance and a fire truck arrived at the scene. Law enforcement surrounded the house and a police helicopter returned to circle the scene. Neighbors began to gather at Sixth Street and Cactus Drive to observe.
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.