‘Everybody was panicking:’ 1 dead in Gaslamp Quarter shooting

Local

SAN DIEGO — Homicide detectives are investigating a shooting that left a man dead early Monday in the Gaslamp Quarter.

San Diego police say officers were working in the area just before 2 a.m. when they heard gunfire near 500 Island Avenue. They found bystanders rendering aid to a man near Island and Fifth Avenue.

Video from Sideo.TV showed a crowd of people around the victim in front of Blarney Stone Pub. Austin Arroyo, a military member who was enjoying a night out, said he was a street away when he heard the gunfire.

A July 19. 2021 screenshot shows an ambulance leaving the Gaslamp Quarter after a deadly shooting early Monday. (Sideo.TV)

“We were just walking south on Fifth Ave. when we heard gunshots,” Arroyo said. “I heard four gunshots. Everybody started running. I saw a guy fall on the ground. I started running towards him.”

Arroyo, tapping into some medical training from the U.S. Navy, began to try to help the victim. He said the man had at least two bullet wounds, possibly three.

“Everybody was panicking,” Arroyo said. “They tried pulling him into the restaurant. … I had them stop right there in the doorway, no point in pulling him into the restaurant, that way they could render aid.”

Arroyo said they started compressions and other life-saving efforts until paramedics got there. The male victim was taken to UC San Diego Health, where he died, according to SDPD.

A police spokesperson said in a 9:30 a.m. update that it appears the victim was involved in some kind of argument before the shooting.

“The dispute escalated and several people began physically fighting,” a police news release said. “During the fight, the suspect produced a handgun and fired several gunshots, striking the victim. The suspect then got into a 4-door sedan with at least two other companions.”

SDPD said the suspect, only described as a Black male, was last seen wearing grey shorts and no shirt. The victim’s name hasn’t been released but police said he was believed to be a white or Hispanic man between 25-30 years old.

Anyone with information about the shooting was asked to call the Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

Police said a second shooting was reported near the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Market Street around 10 minutes before the other shooting. Officers in the area heard gunshots and pursued a car a short distance before the driver pulled over, SDPD told City News Service.

No one was hit by gunfire in that shooting, and a man and woman were taken into custody. Details about the pair and possible charges they face were not immediately available.

A man who runs a bar in the Gaslamp Quarter and wished to remain anonymous, talked with Fox 5 about a rise in violence downtown.

“Everyone’s freaked out. Everyone who works in the bar and nightlife industry, hotels around here – we’re all talking about it. It’s scary,” he said.

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