SAN DIEGO — With the new year quickly approaching, here’s a look back at some of the photos that defined 2020 in San Diego.
Jan. 26: News that Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash sent a shockwave through generations of Southern Californians who had watched the basketball legend play. In San Diego, the Cardiff Kook donned a Bryant jersey, and fans shared their favorite memories.
Feb. 4: More than 200 people who fled Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, were quarantined at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, at a time when San Diego residents had only just begun to understand the virus’ threat.
March 19: With the pandemic quickly worsening, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a stay-at-home order for the entire state of California. The coming weeks and months saw a series of partial openings and closures, with most businesses asked to close indoor operations, schools shifting online and many workers adjusting to working from home.
April 18: Demonstrators gathered for multiple local rallies to express frustration with the state’s stay-at-home order. Many emphasized the financial stress of closed businesses and lost jobs, while others said the state was overstepping its authority. Health officials said they understood the frustrations, but that the orders were saving lives and keeping hospitals from getting overwhelmed.
May 30: Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, protests against racial injustice and calls for police reform spread across the nation, including San Diego County. Local protesters held signs, shouted chants, blocked freeways and hosted “kneel-ins” in their demand for change.
May 31: A day of largely peaceful protest gave way to a night of chaos and destruction in La Mesa, where rioters shattered windows with baseball bats, stole merchandise, lit bank branches on fire and threw debris at police. In the days that followed, the community rallied to repair the destruction and get businesses back on their feet.
July 12: The USS Bonhomme Richard went up in flames at Naval Base San Diego, injuring 17 sailors and four civilians. As it burned for several days, it poured acrid smoke across the region, prompting air quality warnings. An investigation into the suspected cause — arson — continues into the new year. The ship will be decommissioned at a cost of about $30 million.
July 30: A training exercise in an amphibious assault vehicle from Camp Pendleton turned deadly when the vessel started taking on water and sunk to the bottom of the sea, killing eight U.S. Marines and one Navy sailor. After an extensive search, the remains of the service members were finally recovered. The deadly accident led to the firing of a Marine Corps commander.
Sept. 5: A wildfire dubbed the Valley Fire exploded in East County, destroying homes, forcing residents to flee their neighborhoods and burning thousands of acres. It came in the midst of a brutal fire season across California, where the challenge of evacuations was compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. In the end, the Valley Fire burned more than 16,000 acres, and San Diego qualified for federal disaster assistance.
Sept. 20: An electric team, led by rising star Fernando Tatis Jr., captured the city’s heart on their way to the San Diego Padres’ first playoff berth in 14 long years. Though the Friars lost in the National League Division Series, they now have the young core to compete for years: both Tatis and third-baseman Manny Machado finished top-five in MVP voting.
Oct. 30: Hard for many to imagine at the start of the year, the coronavirus pandemic was far from gone by Halloween, instead entering a fierce new phase. That meant large gatherings were off the table, and parents had to find creative ways to keep the trick-or-treating magic alive.
Nov. 7: In so many ways, the November presidential election was unprecedented: In the many days of voting before Nov. 4, the lack of a clear outcome on Election Day or even the next morning, and in President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede even after the race was widely called for his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. When the Associated Press called the race for Biden that Saturday, supporters of the president-elect burst into the streets of San Diego in celebration.
Dec. 8: So, what was the deal with those monoliths, anyway? Mysterious metal structures popped up across the globe throughout the winter, and San Diego got one of its own. The silver structure was spotted next to stores off Scripps Poway Parkway. Later, a band of young people removed the installation and carried it off, promising it would re-appear elsewhere. It …. has been a strange year.
Dec. 24: A wildfire dubbed the Creek Fire forced Camp Pendleton military families and some Fallbrook residents to leave home on Christmas Eve, yet another example of tradition upended in 2020. Firefighters worked tirelessly through the holiday to protect homes and tame the flames enough for families to return, and “Santa” himself popped up in a video recorded at the military base to assure the kids that the holiday could continue.