Two San Diego police officers and a Linda Vista man were killed on June 6, 1981, as a neighborhood dispute over a rosebush erupted into an outbreak of shooting that lasted more than an hour.
The dead officers were identified as Harry K. Tiffany, 32, who died at the scene, and Ronald R. Ebeltoft, 34, who died shortly after he was taken to Sharp Hospital.
Their assailant, Tom Siota, 39, a civilian electrician at the North Island Naval Air Station, was shot to death on his porch by Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) officers who had been pinned down by gunfire.
Tiffany and Ebeltoft were called to the site of the incident at 4:06 p.m. after a woman was struck and kicked by Siota, witnesses said.
The two officers walked to the driveway leading to Siota’s garage, and neighbors saw Siota come from behind his home with a rifle held in his right hand with the muzzle pointed downward.
The officers did not see Siota approaching until bystanders shouted, “There he is.” Siota placed the rifle on the top of a wooden gate at the side of the garage and aimed at the two officers. One of them shouted “Take cover.” They were shot repeatedly before they could draw their weapons.
SWAT team members finally worked their way through the gunfire and drew close to Siota’s home and shot him to death. His body lay on the front porch of his home as Medevac personnel worked frantically on the dying officers sprawled in the driveway. A police spokesman said Ebeltoft had been with the department since January 1979 and Tiffany since July 1979.