San Diego, CA - What started out as a birthday celebration on a peaceful Sunday afternoon ended in a chaotic scene of blood everywhere, when Peter Selis went on a shooting spree at a San Diego apartment complex. One person was killed and seven others were critically injured in the mass shooting.
According to ABC News, the incident occurred about 6 PM on Sunday, inside a gated pool area at the La Jolla Crossroads Apartments on Judicial Drive. The apartment complex is near the University of California - San Diego.
The suspect, Peter Selis, 49, opened fire at a crowd of about 30 people at a birthday pool party. Selis, who is white, shot eight people. His victims were reported to be black and hispanic, and law enforcement is investigating if this attack was a hate crime.
Witnesses said that Selis never got out of his chair. While drinking a beer, he shot his victims with a semi-automatic pistol.
Before San Diego police officers arrived, a police helicopter was above the pool area, and the pilot reported multiple victims on the ground. He also reported that the suspect was still in the pool area and appeared to be reloading.
San Diego police officers responded, and Peter Selis opened fire on them upon their arrival. Three police officers returned fire, and Selis was shot and killed.
Peter Selis was employed as a car mechanic at a local Ford dealership, and had filed for bankruptcy in 2015. He was reported to be deeply in debt, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Before he opened fire, he had been offered food and drink by one of the partygoers, but continued sitting quietly in a chair.
One victim, a black female, later died at the hospital from her wounds. The other victims, all black or hispanic, were being treated at local hospitals for their gunshot wounds. Some were still in surgery and listed in critical condition.
Another victim, who was not shot, was taken to the hospital after he broke his arm while fleeing. The other victims who were shot include three black women, three black men, and one hispanic man, according to ABC 7NY. None of their names have been released. Among the shooting victims was the man who was celebrating his birthday.
A witness who lives at the apartment complex, Rikky Gallendes, was inside his apartment when he heard gun shots. He said that he looked outside, down at the pool, and saw a man who was bleeding and trying to run. He said that he called out to the man to ask if he needed help when his roommate yanked him back inside, and pointed to a man sitting calmly by the pool, drinking beer, sitting in a chair, with a gun.
Gallendes said, "When we looked over the balcony, he was just sitting down with a gun on his lap. He was calm, you know. I mean from my perspective, the guy was ready to do whatever he was going to do. He shot at people having a good time and having a party."
The witness and his roommate stayed inside their apartment after what they saw and immediately called the police. He said that they stayed inside until they were told that it was safe to come out.
Gallendes said "As soon as I heard the gunshots I had goosebumps and the whole thing was really emotionally draining - seeing blood everywhere, seeing bodies on the ground, hoping they survived, seeing bloody footsteps you know of people who ran away. There was just so much blood. It was so surreal."
Another witness, Kaela Wong, said she heard Peter Selis tell two women who had stopped to help a victim that they could either leave or stay there and die.
San Diego Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman said that the investigation is ongoing, and that officers are interviewing witnesses to determine Selis' motive. Selis reportedly lived in the apartment complex.
In a tweet, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said "This was a truly horrific and disturbing act. We pray for the victims and thank our 1st responders. Our city rejects this senseless violence."
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their families.