San Ysidro, Calif.-Today marks the 30th anniversary of the horrific McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro. On July 18th, 1984, 41-year-old James Huberty killed 21 people, including five children and injured 19 others. He was armed with multiple weapons, including an uzi, a 9 millimeter handgun, a shotgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Guillermo Flores stopped by a memorial shrine to remember his 11 year old son, David, who had gone to the fast-food restaurant that fateful day with two friends to buy strawberry shakes. The trio had just biked into the west parking lot around 4 pm when they were met with gunfire.
“30 years. Time has just stopped,” said Flores. “He was a good kid, innocent.” David Flores was one of those killed during the 78 minute shooting spree. The boy never made it inside. “My son died instantly and the other two kids, one survived, the other no,” Flores continued as tears streamed down his cheeks.
Eventually, the unemployed security guard was shot and killed by a swat team sniper from a team led by commander Jerry Sanders, who went on to become chief. “It was absolutely the worst day of my life,” Sanders recalled in vivid detail. “There had been so many rounds fired through the windows that they were just spidered and you couldn’t see inside,” he said.
Sanders says shots were being fired at officers when they arrived at the West San Ysidro Boulevard location. “We had officers who set up a perimeter who were very brave. They tried to rescue people, but they couldn’t get close enough,” he said. The images still haunt him three decades later. “It’s one of those things that’s incredibly etched in you mind. These things you never forget about. I have not been in a McDonald’s since, after going in there and seeing the people all over and the blood, ” he said.
As for Guillermo Flores, he’s still searching for answers. “God he knows what he do. I don’t ask why. I accept everything. That’s it,” he said.