SAN DIEGO - A 54-year-old biotech worker was behind bars Wednesday for allegedly opening fire on a fellow employee, severely wounding him, at their Carmel Mountain Ranch workplace.
Julio Riel Narvaez III allegedly took aim at his co-worker in a warehouse at the offices of Phamatech Inc. in the 15100 block of Innovation Drive about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, according to San Diego police.
Officers responding to the shooting arrived to find the 37-year-old employee of the drug-testing and laboratory-services business suffering from a bullet wound to the head and Narvaez being held down on the floor by other workers, Lt. Charles Lara said.
Medics took the victim, who was conscious and able to speak, to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, where he was admitted in critical condition.
The status of the wounded man, whose name was withheld, was unchanged as of Wednesday morning, SDPD public-information Officer Billy Hernandez said.
It was unclear exactly what prompted the violence between the two co- workers.
"This appears to be a case of workplace violence, some manner of interpersonal issue between the shooter and the victim," Lara told reporters.
Following the gunfire, the suspected shooter went to a different area of the building, the lieutenant said. There, another employee watched as Narvaez approached a human-resources office and someone inside it slammed the door on him.
"At that point, that employee, as he put it, put a move on (Narvaez) and took him to the ground," the lieutenant said. "And I think only then did he discover (the suspect) was actually armed with a handgun. ... Some other employee kicked the firearm away, and when we arrived, (Narvaez) was zip-tied and being held to the ground."
Narvaez was booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of attempted murder. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Phamatech officials declined a request for comment about the workplace violence at their plant near Rancho Bernardo.