Domestic violence suspect arrested after five-hour standoff with Menifee Police

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MENIFEE — After a five-hour standoff with Menifee Police and the Southwest Cities SWAT unit, a Menifee man was taken into custody Thursday, July 23 without incident.

Menifee Police reported receiving a call at 11:30 a.m. Thursday with a report of a possible domestic violence incident, made by a passerby who encountered a female on the side of the road who told the woman she had been assaulted by someone she knew.

When officers arrived on the scene, they determined that the woman’s injuries were consistent with being assaulted and the woman identified the suspect of Gary Byrd, 55, of Menifee. The victim said the assault occurred inside his residence at the 29000 block of Citation Avenue in Menifee.

When officers attempted to contact Byrd at his residence, he refused to come out and speak with officers. During the investigation, it was determined that Byrd had access to weapons and had a previous weapons violation.

Menifee Police said the decision was made to call in the Southwest Cities SWAT team — comprised of members of the Murrieta Police Department, the Hemet Police Department, and the Menifee Police Department — who arrived on the scene at 3 p.m.

“The SWAT team set up around the house and attempted to establish communications with Byrd,” according to Menifee Police Captain David Gutierrez. “Crisis Negotiators were able to communicate with Byrd on several occasions, but all attempts to get him to surrender were unsuccessful.

“At approximately 6 p.m., the decision was made to deploy tear gas inside of the residence. Byrd immediately exited the home and surrendered to awaiting SWAT team members without incident.”

Byrd was arrested for felony domestic violence and felony rape and was booked into custody at county jail.

As a result of the incident, Menifee Road between Alicante Drive and Watson Road was closed for approximately four hours.

“This was a very dangerous and rapidly evolving incident that had the potential to end with a deadly confrontation with the suspect,” Menifee Chief of Police Pat Walsh said. “I would like to personally thank all the officers and professional staff from our agency, and the Murrieta and Hemet Police Departments. Their professionalism and exceptional training led
to a safe resolution for all involved. I would also like to thank the citizen who took the time to stop, check on the victim, and call the police. We value the relationship we have with our community and know our success depends on each other.”

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.