A man held hostage in his own home by an armed robbery suspect spoke first with NBC 7 about the frightening ordeal on Saturday morning.
On Friday, at around 11:35 a.m., police began pursuing an armed suspect who allegedly robbed a gas station located at 495 Meadowbrook. The man fired a round from a sawed off shotgun or rifle into the ceiling of the gas station before fleeing in a stolen 2005 Suzuki.
The suspect crashed the stolen vehicle on Paradise Valley Road and then allegedly tried to set the vehicle on fire.
Then, a wild foot chase for the suspect throughout the surrounding Bay Terraces neighborhood began.
The man allegedly entered a home in the 7300 block of Woodridge Street and shot a resident in the foot. He then fled the scene on foot and made his way to a second nearby home, where he demanded a change of clothes from another resident.
After that, the suspect – identified as 47-year-old National City resident Adolfo Vargas Tovar– fled to a third home in the 7400 block of Woodridge, where the wild pursuit eventually came to a fatal end.
The third home was occupied by siblings Arnold and Cecilia Demesa.
After confrontations with both siblings, the suspect then stole some car keys, hopped into a vehicle parked in the Demesa’s garage and backed out of the driveway at a high rate of speed, toward police officers on the street.
Officials say that’s when five officers drew their service weapons and shot at the suspect, killing him.
As all of this was happening, there was another person inside the third and final home on Woodridge -- a secret hostage hiding out in the bathroom, Arnold Demesa.
On Saturday, Demesa spoke to NBC 7 about the scary chain of events that happened inside his Bay Terraces home.
“I heard a noise. I got up, [and] I saw the strange guy,” he told NBC 7. “He was confused and sweating.”
Demesa says the suspect was also yelling at him and making violent threats.
“He told me, ‘Don’t go outside, I’m going to kill you.’ And so, he’s touching me, so all of a sudden, he grabbed me, so I pushed him,” he recalled.
After the confrontation, Demesa says he ran into the bathroom and hid from the suspect.
But the man wouldn’t let up, knocking loudly on the bathroom door and yelling for Demesa to open it.
Afraid for his life, Demesa stayed silent.
The suspect then ran down the hallway, to his sister Cecilia’s room. Demesa says Cecilia opened the door, saw the man and also ran to hide in her bathroom.
Officers were right outside and were able to help Cecilia crawl safely out from a bathroom window.
As this was happening, the suspect got into Cecilia’s car, which was parked inside the garage and reversed through the garage door. That’s when police officers opened fire on the man and killed him.
From inside the bathroom, Demesa said he heard multiple gunshots.
He continued hiding until authorities told him it was safe to come out.
Demesa said the ordeal was “dramatic” and frightening.
He’s now trying to put it all behind him and move forward with his life.
“The past it the past,” he said.
Police are still investigating the wild pursuit that shook up Bay Terraces. The suspect’s name has not yet been released.