Police in San Diego shot and critically injured an armed suspect during a screening of Les Misérables on Saturday night. The gunman, identified by police as 20-year-old Tom Billodeaux, reportedly fled to the theater after getting into a fight with his girlfriend; when witnesses intervened, Billodeaux threatened them with a handgun before escaping to a nearby shopping mall.
After an intense manhunt – police shut down the shopping center searching for him, using police dogs, 20 squad cars and a helicopter – police received reports of an armed man sneaking into the complex's movie theater, Reading Cinemas Carmel Mountain.
"There were 20 police cars blocking the entrance, then the fire truck and the ambulance rushed in," Steve Krongard, the owner of the Nickel City arcade, said. "Then we saw seven cops with what looked like rifles, then paramedics went into the theater."
Police searched and evacuated each theater before locating Billodeaux in a screening of Les Misérables. According to reports, Billodeaux initially complied with police demands but later reached towards his lap, at which point police opened fire, shooting him in the arm and chest.
Witnesses described a terrifying scene.
"We were in the movie theater, and the lights turned on and… two cops came through with their guns," said one movie theater patron. "Apparently the person they were looking for was in the theater and then gunshots started."
Another added, "We all got on the floor and then started heading for the exits."
Billodeaux was arrested and taken to the Palomar Medical Center. No other injuries were reported.
[Image via ABC News]