Man shot to death at North County bar

ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- Police arrested a 32-year-old Escondido resident suspected of shooting another man to death at a bar on West Grand Avenue Saturday.

Manuel Eliseo Martinez was booked into Vista jail on a litany of charges including murder, attempted murder, possession of a weapon to commit an assault, carrying a loaded firearm in public, being a gang member possessing a firearm, possession of a controlled substance for sales, being a felon possessing a firearm and ammunition, and resisting arrest, according to Lt. Chris Lick of the Escondido Police Department.

The victim's name is being withheld pending family identification, police said.

Shortly before 1 a.m., police were alerted about a shooting at Pounders Bar, located on the 100 block of West Grand Avenue, Lick said.

A second unidentified person was shot, but had non-life threatening injuries and is expected to survive, Lick said. Both victims were taken to Palomar Hospital, where one was pronounced dead.

“I pushed my mom to the side and made sure everyone was out of the way,” said bar patron, Nick Farris. "I was in the back of the bar when I heard the gunshots. All of sudden I saw this guy running from the back.”

Witnesses at the scene identified Martinez as the suspect, Lick said. Officers chased Martinez on foot for several blocks and then arrested him after a brief struggle, Lick said.

One man, who chose not to give FOX 5 his name for fear of retaliation, says he witnessed the gang shooting.

“He went across the street and he just went 'pow, pow, pow.' Three shots,” the witness said.

He and his girlfriend were playing music on the 100 block of West Grand Avenue in Escondido just outside of Pounders Bar when he noticed a suspicious looking man. He says the man walked to the entrance of the bar and opened fire on patrons.

“I grabbed my girlfriend and I just ducked down with her. He walked by with a cell phone in his hand and the gun in his (other) hand. It looked like a small pistol, a 9 millimeter or something like that, that small,”  said the witness. "Then he came back and dragged the body out on the street.”

After interviewing witnesses, police said the incident appears to be gang-related.