The man, identified as Tom Billodeaux, 20, of Escondido, was recovering Sunday from multiple gunshot wounds suffered when he allegedly pulled a gun on officers inside the Reading Cinemas in the Carmel Mountain neighborhood Saturday afternoon.
Police Capt. Terry McManus said about 15 customers were inside the theater where the shooting took place. None was injured. The suspect apparently tried to hide from officers looking for him by ducking into the theater.
U-T San Diego reported patrons fled the theater as police rushed in with guns drawn. "We saw four cops with assault rifles go by us, toward the theater," said Todd Cope, an employee of a neighboring store. "Moments later, a lady came in here and said she had heard a gunshot."
A police helicopter circled above the shopping center and police with dogs searched every store and inspected cars leaving the parking lot. Motorists were asked to open their trunks so officers could make sure no other suspects were trying to slip away.
The Los Angeles Times reported police had responded about 2:30 p.m. to reports of a man assaulting a woman in a parking lot. Billodeaux allegedly had shown up at his girlfriend's workplace and physically attacked her.
Police said once inside the theater Billodeaux pretended to be a movie patron. Lt. Ernie Herbert said officers ordered him to show his hands, which he did before reaching for a gun in his lap and raising it toward one officer.
The suspect was wounded in the arm and chest and taken to a hospital, the Times said.