UNIVERSITY CITY, Calif. – A group who witnessed Sunday’s mass shooting at a University City apartment complex pool, which left one of their friends dead and seven others injured, is questioning the response time of emergency workers following the deadly rampage.
Speaking Tuesday outside the La Jolla Crossroads apartment complex, the group also alleged that authorities rushed to judgment in determining the deadly shooting was not racially motivated.
“People that were there that day, in that area, I think is sound proof that this was partially, to some in fact, a crime full of hate, or a racially-motivated crime,” said survivor Lauren Chapman.
Although five of the victims shot at the birthday pool party on Judicial Drive just after 6 p.m. Sunday were black, one was Hispanic and one was white, authorities do not believe the rampage by the white gunman, Peter Selis, was an ethnicity-based hate crime, San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said Monday.
“There is zero information to indicate that race played a factor in this terrible and horrific crime,” Zimmerman said. “The victims were targeted for no other reason but their mere presence in the vicinity of the (shooting).”
The survivors and police both agree that racial slurs were never used during the shooting spree.
Authorities said Selis was apparently upset over a breakup days before and was believed to have targeted his victims randomly. He fired a large-caliber handgun into a crowd while sitting in a lounge chair holding a beer and speaking to the woman on his cell phone.
“It is apparent that Selis wanted his ex-girlfriend to listen in as he carried out his rampage,” the chief said.
When officers arrived at the La Jolla Crossroads apartment complex, Selis fired in the direction of one of them, prompting three of the personnel to return fire, according to the SDPD. He died at the scene.
“That day [Selis] made a decision that we were going to be his victims,” said Mychael Gary.
The group also claimed Tuesday that medical responders didn’t act quickly enough following the shooting and medical attention was delayed.
“I said my friends are here dying. We need help, you need to come quicker and the ambulance is going the wrong way,” said Mollique Johnson.
“Run back in the pool and the man is shot and dead, and my friends are still laying on the ground and there’s no ambulance,” Hailey Thames described. “Now my friend is dead because they did not follow, it was not correct. They didn’t do things right. They need to improve it because no one should die.”
Fire Chief Brian Fennessy said Monday it took four minutes for emergency personnel to arrive on scene after receiving the first call for help and six minutes later paramedics were cleared by police to treat patients.
The survivors have asked for their own grief counseling and hope someone in the community will come forward.
“The victims in the hospital who are physically injured are being tended to. Yes, they are being tended to very well. However, socially, mentally, everyone has been impacted. People who live here have been provided counselors. However, no one has reached out to us at all,” Johnson said.
Three vigils are planned Wednesday for the shooting victims. Click here for more information.