Man charged with gunning down friend in Ocean Beach

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Jess Robles, 35, posed in a picture with a family member. (Photo: Robles Family)

SAN DIEGO – A man accused of fatally shooting an acquaintance at an Ocean Beach condominium complex last week was charged Monday with murder.

The arraignment for Thomas Francis Burke, 32, was put off until Thursday  after defense attorney Thomas Warwick told Judge Frederick Maguire that he  was in the process of being retained on the case.

Burke was ordered held without bail until the next court hearing.

He was arrested last Thursday in the East Village area, roughly 8 1/2 hours after gunfire erupted. Patrol officers found 35-year-old Jess Robles on the ground in the 4100 block of Voltaire Street at about 11:15 p.m. last  Wednesday.

Witnesses reported that the assailant had retreated into a nearby residence, San Diego police Lt. Ray Valentin said. Officers tried in vain to contact the suspect, then called in a SWAT team to take positions around the  condo and prepare to enter forcibly if necessary.

Jess Robles with his father and brother. (Photo: Robles Family)

Jess Robles sits between his father and brother. (Photo: Robles Family)

The stalemate continued past daybreak, until a detective was able to  reach Burke on the suspect’s cell phone. Burke agreed to turn himself in and did so about 7:30 a.m. at 16th and F streets in downtown San Diego.

Police were unsure if Burke had been in the surrounded residence at all during the standoff or if he might have left the area unnoticed beforehand.

Deputy District Attorney Kyle Sutterley said Burke faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of murder and the use of a gun. A motive for the killing was unknown.