Marine stabbed to death in Gaslamp

SAN DIEGO -- A double-stabbing early Friday morning in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter left a Camp Pendleton Marine dead and another man hospitalized as detectives searched for the suspected killers, police said.

The fatal stabbing was reported at 1:33 a.m. near Sixth and Island avenues, with a 911 caller saying there was a fight and a person down in the 500 block of Island Avenue, San Diego police homicide Lt. Todd Griffin said.

"The victim was stabbed on the south curb line of 500 Island Ave., then walked across the street and collapsed on the north curb line," Griffin said during a media briefing Friday morning.

The lieutenant confirmed that the victim was a Marine based at Camp Pendleton north of Oceanside.

Responding officers and paramedics found the Marine on the ground bleeding from an apparent stab wound to his upper body, Griffin said. He died at the scene despite the life-saving efforts of police, paramedics, firefighters and witnesses who rendered aid before emergency crews arrived.

The victim's identity is known to police but was withheld pending notification of his family.

"It is very tragic ... and we'll work hard to bring justice to the victim and his family," Griffin said.

While tending to the Marine, police received another report of a second stabbing victim about a block away on J Street, Griffin said. Police quickly determined the second victim, who was not believed to be a Marine, was injured in the same brawl on Island Avenue.

Paramedics took the second man to a hospital for treatment and he was expected to survive, Griffin said. He was reportedly stabbed in the back and chest.

More than five hours after the fight was first reported, officers and detectives were still conducting interviews in an attempt to piece together details of the deadly assault. Griffin said several others involved in the fight who later spoke to police as witnesses were also Marines based at Camp Pendleton.

Those men and other witnesses described the suspects in the other group that they fought with as men of average build and average height wearing dark clothing.

"The other Marines are being treated as witnesses at this point," Griffin said. But the lieutenant warned that "at this point, we only have one side of the story."

Detectives were combing through surveillance from the area Friday in search of footage that could aid the investigation.

"We're gathering video surveillance that will no doubt be of some assistance," Griffin said. "But as you can imagine, there's a lot to comb through."

Streets in the area near Fifth and Sixth avenues, Island Avenue and J Street were expected to be blocked until late Friday morning as police continued their investigation.