SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A suspect died following a 14-hour standoff after police tear-gassed him while he was hiding under a house in San Jose, authorities said.

The cause of his death was currently under investigation.

Officers responded to the house in the 6700 block of Elwood Road at 9:16 p.m. Wednesday to a report of woman who had been assaulted by her boyfriend. The victim and two men exited the house but the suspect, 51-year-old Mark James Spencer, stayed inside according to police.

Police negotiators, a SWAT team and bomb squad tried to persuade the man to surrender several times, but police said he didn’t comply and was found underneath the house not breathing hours later. He was pronounced dead at 12:35 p.m. on Thursday.

Chief Eddie Garcia said Spencer’s death was being treated as an officer-involved casualty incident.

Spencer exited and re-entered the home once during the lengthy standoff. At the end of 14 hours, officers used tear gas in attempt to draw him out of the house, according to Garcia, who said the irritant was not considered lethal force.

They heard Spencer moving under the house while conducting a search of the residence, and used tear gas again to force him outside. Garcia said officers then entered the area and removed the man to find he wasn’t breathing.

They administered CPR and Spencer was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“In this case, the suspect refused to come out,” Garcia said. “That was ultimately the cause of his demise.”

He was believed to be under the influence of methamphetamine or other narcotics when police responded to the domestic violence call.

Garcia said police had visited the home before and Spencer had been previously charged with several offenses, including those involving domestic violence, theft, assault and pornography. Officers said he was prohibited from having firearms but had allegedly threatened the victim with a shotgun.

Police, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, police internal affairs and the Independent Police Auditor were investigating and monitoring the case.


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