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SWAT responds after suspect pulls gun on cop
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Members of the Manteca Police SWAT Team advance on a house in the 1100 block of Devonshire Avenue early Saturday morning following a domestic violence call where a suspect pulled a gun from his waist band when confronted by an officer and then ran into a residence at that location. - photo by GLENN KAHL
A 22-year-old Manteca man, who was face-to-face with an officer in the dark following an early Saturday morning domestic dispute, allegedly pulled a gun from his backside waist band and narrowly escaped being shot when his girlfriend jumped in front of him, Manteca Police said.

Officer Robert Anderson had responded to the 2:30 a.m. domestic violence call for help with reports that Nicholas Matthew Zunker had physically assaulted his brother and his girlfriend at a residence in the 1100 block of Devonshire Avenue in a neighborhood north of Louise Avenue,

Police said the trio went back into the garage and then the house following the confrontation and the SWAT team was subsequently called to the scene.  Police attempted to initiate negotiations with the man over the home telephone.

At dawn neighbors were called and told of the police action and asked to stay in their homes for their own safety.  At about 8:30 police again surrounded the home ordering Zunker to come out of the residence – at the same time fearing for his safety.

Flash bang grenades were lobbed into the entries of the residence, but to no avail.  A screen that had been knocked off a window and a broken board in the fence gave evidence that he may have escaped their police perimeter before it was completely set up.

Shortly before 9 a.m. SWAT officers armed with automatic weapons entered the home and meticulously moved from room to room looking for the armed man.   With memories of the Oakland SWAT team being fatally fired upon through a closed closet door, Manteca officers have learned to be careful in taking their time in such a building clearing operation.

At about 9:30 the team determined the suspect was not in the residence or in its attic and called off the search, learning he may have gone to a family member’s residence in Ripon.

Manteca and Ripon officers went to the home of Zunker’s parents on North Stockton Avenue in Ripon where they found a garage sale in progress in the front yard.  After further investigation they learned that the man was asleep in a bedroom in the house and found that he was unaware they were in the house.

Two SWAT officers woke him up and demanded to know where his .357 magnum revolver was located that he allegedly had when first approached by officers.   It was in the same place it had been earlier – in the back waistband of his clothes.

Zunker was booked on numerous charges including being a violent offender in possession of a firearm, making terrorist threats, resisting arrest, domestic violence battery, possession of stolen property, brandishing a firearm and grand theft.

The suspect was transported to San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp with bail set at $297,000.  His court date was set for Tuesday, July 13, in the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court at 1:30 p.m.  Officers said Zunker had been on probation after a recent conviction involving a knife.