Armed man shot by police officer inside San Diego movie theater

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego police officer shot and critically injured a man inside a movie theater in Carmel Mountain Ranch, north of San Diego.

Officer David Stafford said police went to Reading Cinemas Carmel Mountain 12 in the 11000 block of Carmel Mountain Road in response to a domestic violence call Saturday afternoon.

Stafford said the roughly 3:50 p.m. shooting occurred inside a theater. The officer was not hurt.

According to a dispatcher with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, one person with a gunshot wound was transported to Palomar Medical Center. There is no word on the person's condition.

U-T San Diego reports that witnesses were evacuated from the theater.

The incident started as a domestic dispute between a man and his girlfriend shortly before 2 p.m. at a nearby Marie Callender's restaurant. The man -- who police say had a gun -- threatened witnesses who tried to interfere in the dispute. Witnesses then called police.

The suspect was later located inside the movie theater, where he was confronted by police. Police said he was initially cooperative and put his hands up. However, according to police, he dropped his hand down and appeared to reach for the gun in his lap, prompting an officer to fire at least one shot. It was unclear where the man was hit.

"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."

Nick Anastasopoulos, who owns the Athens Market Café near the theater, told 10News, "Each of the movie theaters was closed down one by one. I was told that the screen was shut and the lights were turned on… Uniformed police officers with shotguns went into the theater looking for someone."

No other injuries were reported. The suspect's girlfriend was unharmed.

The theater remains closed Saturday evening while police conduct their investigation. There is no word on when it will reopen.

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