SWAT team kills man who shot K-9

CHP police dog was wounded in attack; man shot when he tried to re-enter home with wife and child inside

By Richard K. DeAtley
The Press Enterprise

BEAUMONT, Calif. — A Beaumont man was shot and killed by Riverside County sheriff's SWAT officers Monday, Dec. 10, after a standoff that ended when the man, who had earlier shot and wounded a CHP dog, tried to re-enter the home where his wife and a child were inside.

The man — later identified by the Riverside County coroner's office as Chandler Cardwell, 38, of Beaumont — was "so weird," said one neighbor. He often wandered a small park in the neighborhood, smoking cigarettes during the mid-morning hours, said Luz Silva, who lives nearby with her son, 15, and daughter, 9. Silva said the man seemed to be overly interested in neighbors' homes when most people were away at work.

"It scared me," she said. "It was not normal, a man that age who wasn't working by then."

There was talk in the neighborhood that a meth lab might have been at the house, Silva and her son said. They said SWAT officers at the scene appeared to be wearing respirators with air tanks. The Sheriff's Department could not confirm the presence of a meth lab.

The incident in the 1700 block of Morgan Avenue began shortly after 9 a.m. when a woman called Beaumont police and reported her husband was trying to kill her, Deputy Albert Martinez said in a phone interview.

Outside the house, officers found a man who matched the description given by the reporting woman. When officers tried to talk to him, he went inside the garage.

Efforts to recontact the woman inside failed — it sounded as though someone were picking up the phone and then hanging up on the call, Martinez said. Meanwhile, the man remained inside the garage and refused to cooperate with officers, he said.

Beaumont police asked the California Highway Patrol for help by bringing a canine unit.

The dog was sent inside the garage and was shot. It was able to retreat to its handler under its own power, was taken to a veterinary clinic for surgery, and is expected to survive, Martinez said.

The sheriff's SWAT team was called to the scene after the dog was shot, as was a hostage negotiating team. Martinez said Beaumont police and the negotiating team remained in some kind of contact with the man while the house was surrounded. Officers believe the woman and the baby were still inside.

"At one point, the suspect begins breaking into the garage door that leads into the residence," Martinez said. "Two SWAT members shot and hit the suspect as this was happening. He died at the scene."

Martinez said the SWAT team entered and found the woman and her child safe. The incident was over about 12:30 p.m.

"I heard the shots. Two or three," Silva said. She said she was told by officers to stay in her home during the incident.

Martinez said the home's large garage door to the outside was open during the incident and the SWAT officers "had a clear view of the suspect."

The shooting took place in a development filled with well-tended, two-story stucco homes, many featuring Christmas lights and other decorations on the lawn.

Copyright 2012 The Press Enterprise, Inc.

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