Remembering the McDonald’s Massacre-30 years later

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San Ysidro, Calif.-Today marks the 30th anniversary of the horrific McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro. On July 18th, 1984, 41-year-old James Huberty killed 21 people, including five children and injured 19 others. He was armed with multiple weapons,    including an uzi, a 9 millimeter handgun, a shotgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Guillermo Flores stopped by a memorial shrine to remember his 11 year old son, David, who had gone to the fast-food restaurant that fateful day with two friends to buy strawberry shakes. The trio had just biked into the west parking lot around 4 pm when they were met with gunfire.

“30 years. Time has just stopped,” said Flores. “He was a good kid, innocent.” David Flores was one of those killed during the 78 minute shooting spree. The boy never made it inside. “My son died instantly and the other two kids, one survived, the other no,” Flores continued as tears streamed down his cheeks.

Eventually, the unemployed security guard was shot and killed by a swat team sniper from a team led by commander Jerry Sanders, who went on to become chief. “It was absolutely the worst day of my life,” Sanders recalled in vivid detail. “There had been so many rounds fired through the windows that they were just spidered and you couldn’t see inside,” he said.

Sanders says shots were being fired at officers when they arrived at the West San Ysidro Boulevard location. “We had officers who set up a perimeter who were very brave. They tried to rescue people, but they couldn’t get close enough,” he said. The images still haunt him three decades later. “It’s one of those things that’s incredibly etched in you mind. These things you never forget about. I have not been in a McDonald’s since, after going in there and seeing the people all over and the blood, ” he said.

As for Guillermo Flores, he’s still searching for answers. “God he knows what he do. I don’t ask why. I accept everything. That’s it,” he said.



  • turdburner

    The McMassacre was a very dark day for San Diego. I still remember talking to future Sgt. Rick Simmons who carried two young kids out the restaurant and them telling him the deceased kids on the ground were their friends. Rick said he almost quit the PD that day. Unfortunately he passed away about 10 years later and left a big hole in many hearts on the PD that day as well as his wife and two kids.

    • Angel

      If you were affiliated with the PD, can you tell me how would one go about obtaining the original crime scene photo's, videos from the massacre? I know that some cable channels have this and have used parts of it in their documentaries.

  • Ron

    I've seen the photos…….very nasty. My girl friend and her family were pulling into the drive threw when a car , being shot at veered in front of them, causing them to not go in. That saved their lives that day.
    Sadly, this was before the police trained for active shooter scenarios and instead of engaging immediately, they set up a perimeter as people died.

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