SAN DIEGO – A 50-year-old homeless man was discovered dead Tuesday in a Barrio Logan alley, prompting homicide detectives to launch an investigation into what is at least the fourth slaying since Sunday afternoon within a several-mile radius in neighborhoods southeast of downtown San Diego.
Though the victim was found just blocks from where five people were injured in a shooting spree Monday night in the East Village, there were no immediate indications that his death was related to that crime or to the nearby homicides, according to police.
"Never say never, but certainly doesn't seem so," SDPD Lt. Matt Dobbs said late Tuesday morning.
A 911 caller reported finding the mortally wounded transient in an alley off the 1600 block of Logan Avenue about 6:30 a.m., Dobbs said. Patrol officers found the man not breathing on the ground in the alley with "visible trauma" to his upper body, the lieutenant said.
Paramedics administered emergency medical aid, but he was pronounced dead at the scene just before 7 a.m., Dobbs said. Police withheld his name, pending notification of his family.
The man was a transient who frequented the area where his body was found, the lieutenant said, and was possibly seen in that area with a woman about 11:30 p.m. Monday.
The alley where the was found is roughly five blocks south of the street corner in East Village where two assailants shot and wounded four people just after 11 p.m. Monday. That shooting happened at 15th Street and Island Avenue, while a fifth victim was shot by the same two men about three blocks away near the Island Avenue bridge over Interstate 5.
The slaying is also the fourth since Sunday afternoon in the neighborhoods to the south and southeast of downtown San Diego. About 1:30 p.m. Sunday, two men aged 37 and 33 were fatally shot at Mountain View Park in the Mountain View neighborhood east of Logan Heights. Then around 8:10 p.m. Sunday, a 29-year-old man was gunned down near 28th and Sampson streets in Logan Heights.
Police said they are investigating potential connections between the two deadly shootings on Sunday and the East Village shooting spree on Monday night.
Late Tuesday morning, the city announced the cancellation of an 11:15 a.m. news conference during which officials had planned to announce and discuss a newly formed SDPD neighborhood-policing unit. A spokesman said the event was postponed because San Diego police Chief David Nisleit's "focus on the investigations into these shootings is currently his top priority."
In a statement released several hours later, Nisleit said his department was "working around the clock investigating the recent violent incidents (that) have shaken our community to the core."
"I am putting all of the department's available resources toward furthering these investigations in an effort to identify those responsible and hold them accountable for their crimes," the chief said.
Anyone with information about any of the shootings was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
Editors note: A previous version of this story stated that the victim had been shot to death, but police have not released the cause of death yet.