SAN DIEGO — Eight people were shot Sunday when a man armed with a gun opened fire near a swimming pool at an apartment complex in University City, near La Jolla. Police fatally shot the gunman when he pointed his weapon at approaching officers, authorities said.
Several victims were reportedly in critical condition.
Police began receiving numerous reports that a man was shooting people near a swimming pool at the La Jolla Crossroads complex on Judicial Drive near Golden Haven Drive shortly after 6 p.m. Witnesses said victims were attending a birthday party near the pool.
As patrol officers drove toward the complex, officers inside a police helicopter spotted the gunman near the pool and saw that he was holding a weapon. He appeared to be reloading his gun, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said.
Three officers arrived at the complex and headed to the pool. When the suspect pointed his gun at the officers, they fired, killing him.
Zimmerman said several of the victims are in critical condition. The chief did not have any information about a motive or the identity of the gunman.
“Our hearts go out to all the victims, their families and anyone who witnessed this tragic event,” Zimmerman said.
David Phillips said it was his best friend’s birthday party and he was returning from the bathroom when the gunfire erupted. He said he immediately got on the ground. His best friend was among those shot.
“It was like the Twilight Zone,” he said. “I really can’t explain what happened.”
Witnesses heard a barrage of gunfire and described a chaotic scene.
Shahrayar Jeff’s granddaughters were at the pool with their grandmother and a nanny. His 8-year-old granddaughter told him the man was sitting and drinking a beer and “relaxing and shooting.”
Jeff said it was “very cold blooded.”
Amit Godbole said his wife was walking toward the pool when she heard gunshots and saw people streaming out. A few minutes later police arrived and what sounded like a gun battle ensued.
“It was alike a war zone or something,” Godbole said. “There would be three or four shots, a pause and then more shots. I was trying to count them. I counted 30 or 40.”
College students Amberjot Riat, 22, and Kaela Wong, 20, were in the hot tub when the shooting began and they saw terrified people running from the area. Riat said they didn’t know what to do and didn’t want to attract the shooter’s attention so they stayed in the water.
They said the shooter was a white middle-aged man and the victims they could see were black. They said about 30 people had gathered around the pool.
Riat and Wong managed to move near a wall when they overheard the shooter telling some girls attending to a wounded friend, “You can either leave or you can stay here and die.”
The girls asked the shooter if they could help their friend; he repeated the threat and they fled.
Riat and Wong said they hopped over a wall and left the area.