Ex-con accused in San Diego standoff disrupts court hearing with loud outbursts

Titus Nathan Colbert, 33, of Las Vegas, is seen at his arraignment Friday on charges of attempting to murder San Diego police who responded to a domestic violence call from Colbert's ex-girlfriend.

Titus Nathan Colbert, 33, of Las Vegas, is seen at his arraignment Friday on charges of attempting to murder San Diego police who responded to a domestic violence call from Colbert’s ex-girlfriend.

(John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The unusual case of the lengthy standoff this week between San Diego police and a gunman in the Bankers Hill neighborhood got a bit more unusual Friday.

The ex-convict charged with shooting at San Diego police was removed from court when he refused to stop loudly uttering a series of arcane historical references.

Superior Court Judge David Szumowski ordered Titus Nathan Colbert, 33, taken back to jail when he refused to listen to the judge’s explanation of his rights.


Colbert’s court-appointed attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf to a series of charges, including the attempted murder of San Diego police officers who responded to a domestic violence call Wednesday at the apartment of Colbert’s ex-girlfriend.

The call led to a standoff of more than four hours, with incoming flights to Lindbergh Field being halted, streets around the Bankers Hill apartment being closed and neighbors being ordered to “shelter in place.”

The rooftop apartment is beneath the flight pattern for incoming airplanes, and federal officials were concerned that a plane could be struck by a round from what police later called a high-powered rifle being wielded by the gunman.

The length of the standoff, the widespread disruption of the neighborhood and the order stopping incoming flights were thought to be without precedent. After the arrest, Mayor Kevin Faulconer rushed to the scene to praise police.

Colbert is charged with firing multiple shots from the apartment window as police surrounded the building. No one was wounded, police said.

After Colbert surrendered, police found a handgun, assault rifle and 17 expended rounds in the apartment.


At his arraignment Friday, Colbert refused to cooperate.

“I stand for a new world order,” he said loudly. “I will not be subject to criminal violence.” He mentioned the name Benjamin Franklin and six times said “May 1, 1776.”

The judge wondered aloud whether Colbert was seeking a psychiatric evaluation before the case could continue.

Although no explanation was given for Colbert’s outbursts, it appears they relate to a semi-secret group formed in the 18th century called the Illuminati, which historians say was dedicated to a “new world order.”

The date usually associated with the formation of the Illuminati is May 1, 1776. Franklin’s ties to the group have long been the subject of historic inquiry.

Prosecutors say Colbert, with convictions for drugs, assault and witness intimidation, had come to San Diego from Las Vegas in hopes of rekindling a relationship with an ex-girlfriend. Fearing harm, she called police Wednesday morning, setting off the daylong incident.

Colbert is being held without bail. Szumowski set the next court hearing for Nov. 13.



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