SAN DIEGO – San Diego police say they are taking action after recent shootings in Mission Beach near Belmont Park have put innocent bystanders in the crosshairs.
The most recent came Monday night when a 61-year-old woman was shot in the upper right part of her back while packing her car after a day at the beach. She was taken to the hospital with injuries police say were not considered life-threatening.
No arrests have been announced related to the incident.
Four shootings in the area this summer — including one near Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach — have resulted in injuries to seven bystanders, San Diego police Capt. Scott Wahl said.
“Whether it’s gang-related or not, that doesn’t necessarily matter,” Wahl said. “These are folks that are down here creating problems and creating a very serious threat.”
Authorities say the priority is to restore a sense of safety in the typically family friendly area starting with more lighting and undercover detectives.
“We’re going to bring in some portable lighting systems to make sure this area, there are no dark corners for people to hide out and hang out in in the evening hours,” he said. “We’re going to make sure we have a command post out here with a police presence around the clock.”
The uptick in gun violence doesn’t come as a surprise. This summer, local police are reporting a rise in the number of suspects arrested who were carrying so-called “ghost guns.”
Since June 1, officers have recovered 35 guns within “an arm’s reach of this area,” Wahl said.
The result has left some locals feeling uneasy.
Elizabeth Twigg, who works at a shop near where Monday’s shooting happened, told FOX 5 Wednesday that her boss makes workers walk to and from their cars in groups.
“It is scary, absolutely,” Twigg said. “I just think you need to be smart. It can be anybody and you’ve got to trust your gut. That’s what my parents taught me, to be aware of your surroundings.”
According to Wahl, she is certainly right about that.
“The common thing is if you ran into these people in a dark alley at night, you would know this isn’t a good situation to be in,” he said. “They’re coming down here looking for trouble.”