Year in Review: Top San Diego news stories of 2018

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SAN DIEGO — With the new year quickly approaching, here’s a look back at some of our top stories from 2018.

Long lines on 1st day of legal recreational pot sales

January 1: Booming business and long lines were reported at San Diego pot stores on Jan. 1 — the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales for those ages 21 and up in California. “We’ve been slammed since opening at 7 a.m.,” the manager of Urban Leaf, one local shop, told FOX 5.


Turpin parents arrested after 13 malnourished siblings found in SoCal home

January 15:¬†Police made a disturbing discovery at a residence in Perris, California — 13 malnourished siblings held captive amid dirty conditions, including some children shackled to beds. The ensuing trial for parents David and Louise Turpin captivated and horrified viewers throughout the year.


Major gas line rupture forces evacuations, freeway closure in Mission Valley

March 7: A major gas line rupture at a construction site near Fashion Valley wreaked havoc on the area, closing the mall, forcing people to evacuate their homes and closing a stretch of state Route 163.


President Trump visits San Diego to see border wall prototypes

March 13: President Donald Trump visited San Diego to see prototypes for his long-promised border wall. The President traveled to Otay Mesa to see the prototypes and spoke to Marines at MCAS Miramar. The visit prompted local rallies by both Trump supporters and detractors.


San Diegans ‚ÄėMarch for Our Lives‚Äô across the¬†county

March 24:¬†The deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida¬†prompted a national conversation about how to prevent similar attacks.¬†Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and other parts of the region as part of the nationwide “March for Our Lives” movement, which called for stricter gun control.


San Diego woman shoots three people at YouTube headquarters

Nasim Aghdam (Credit: San Diego Union-Tribune)

April 3:¬†A woman who¬†shot three people at YouTube’s headquarters¬†was identified as 39-year-old San Diego resident Nasim Najafi Aghdam. Aghdam took her own life after the shootings at the Northern California campus. Her family said she was angry with the website for filtering and removing her videos.


Jury finds Adam Shacknai responsible for Rebecca Zahau’s death

Attorney Keith Greer reacts to jury’s decision that Adam Shacknai was responsible for Zahau’s death.

April 4:¬†A jury awarded more than $5 million in damages to the mother of a woman who authorities said committed suicide by hanging herself at a Coronado mansion in 2011, determining that the brother of her boyfriend was liable for her death. Despite the ruling, Sheriff Bill Gore continued to defend his investigators’ initial conclusion about the cause of death.¬†Find our full coverage of the Zahau trials as they unfolded here.


Border reaches capacity as migrant caravan seeks asylum

April 29:¬†After a difficult, month-long journey from Central America to the US-Mexico border in April, dozens of asylum-seeking migrants vowed to remain outside an immigration processing center until “every last one” was admitted into the country. But before the group arrived, US Customs and Border Patrol officials said the port had already reached full capacity, leading to a sort of stalemate that raised questions about border security, immigration policy and who has the right to seek safe haven in the US. These questions became a defining feature of the political year.¬†Find our stories about the multiple migrant caravans that marched to the US this year here.


Mysterious mermaid statue appears in Ocean Beach

May 29: After a statue of a life-sized mermaid perched on a giant rock popped up in Ocean Beach, residents were left wondering how it got there and why. According to several residents who claim to have knowledge of the statue, the mermaid was assisted to the top of the rock using a rope ladder draped over the boulder. The mermaid was then hoisted up and her hands were drilled into the rock.


Shooting scare at the Rock ‚Äėn‚Äô Roll Marathon

June 3:¬†A woman caused the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon to reroute after waving a pellet gun at police officers in a parking garage near the finish line. News about the incident — including speculation that it was a shooting targeting the event — trickled out slowly, causing widespread concern. In the end,¬†58-year-old Mona Williams pleaded guilty to resisting an executive officer by threat or violence.


Woman catches foul ball in her beer at Padres game ‚ÄĒ then chugs¬†it!

June 5:¬†A baseball fan enjoying a cold beer at the Braves-Padres game became a legend after catching a foul ball in her cup. Gabby DiMarco¬†got a little more than she bargained for when the foul ball plopped into her beer, but she made most of the the moment when she started chugging the full beer with the baseball inside. DiMarco became a social media sensation — complete with marriage proposals — and visited FOX 5 to recreate the epic chug.


Former NFL star Kellen Winslow Jr. accused of violent sex crime spree

June 15: Prosecutors say former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. targeted older women in a spree of violent sex crimes, then threatened them with death if they spoke out about the attacks. It all started when he was arrested after a burglary call at a mobile home park in Encinitas. A disturbing trail of allegations and a growing number of accusers followed.


The West Fire devastates Alpine

Homes burn in Alpine during the devastating West Fire.

July 6: Firefighters dealt with extreme heat and high winds as a fire charred more than 500 acres and destroyed three dozen homes in the Alpine area. At the height of the blaze, 90 percent of San Diego County Fire Authority and local Cal Fire crews were deployed to fight the flames.


Comic-Con descends on San Diego

Photo: Jim Blair

July 19: It was a four-day blitz of costumes, panels and fun for Comic-Con at the San Diego Convention Center in July. FOX 5 was there to capture all the mayhem.


Teen YouTube star drives sports car wrong way on freeway, killing mom and daughter

August 24:¬†Trevor Heitmann, a popular YouTube and gaming personality known as “McSkillet,” was speeding the wrong way in an exotic sports car on Interstate 805 when he caused a devastating crash, killing a woman from the College Area and her daughter in addition to himself. In the weeks that followed, the family of Aileen and Aryana Pizarro received an outpouring of love from the San Diego community,¬†and even a tribute from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.


Deputy shoots man who opened fire at Del Mar Fairgrounds

September 2:¬†A deputy shot a man who pulled out a gun and fired shots into the air after he couldn’t get in to an Ice Cube concert at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. It all started when the man was told at a ticket booth that no one else would be admitted to the show. The fairgrounds tightened security for future events.


Teen attacked by shark in North County

Keane Hayes

September 29:¬†A teen boy was attacked by a shark while he was on a lobster diving trip off Beacon’s Beach in September. A¬†group of friends pulled the teen onto their kayak and brought him to shore, where he was rushed to the hospital. Keane Hayes eventually made a full recovery and was later honored at a ceremony along with his rescuers.


SpaceX launches rocket, lights up the sky in San Diego

October 7: SpaceX successfully launched a satellite to space from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, creating a show in the sky for San Diegans in October. The innovative company launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellite SAOCOM 1A to space. Then SpaceX successfully landed part of their rocket back on Earth for the first time on the West Coast.


‚ÄėNothing short of a miracle‚Äô: 25-year-old instructor safely lands plane on¬†I-8

October 19:¬†A 25-year-old flight instructor and San Diego State alum safely landed a small plane on Interstate 8 in El Cajon after an engine malfunction. No one was injured in the emergency landing, which one California Highway Patrol official called “nothing short of a miracle.”


Navy sailor shot by driver he stopped to help

October 27:¬†An active-duty Navy service member was killed after pulling over to help what he thought was a stranded motorist.¬†With help from Caltrans workers monitoring freeway cameras, officers were able to track down the suspect’s car and arrest both the driver and another man they found in the car.


Coronado man among 12 people killed in Thousands Oaks bar massacre

November 8: Twelve people were killed when a 28-year-old Marine Corps veteran opened fire during a crowded college night at a Thousand Oaks bar. A beloved Coronado High School alum, 23-year-old Justin Meek, was among the people killed in the attack.


Migrants rush toward US, prompt border shutdown

(Photo: GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)

November 25: Officials shut down the San Ysidro port of entry to both cars and pedestrians after hundreds of migrants from a Central American migrant caravan surged toward the US-Mexico border from Tijuana. Border Patrol used tear gas to dispel the crowds.


Thunderstorms flood roads and homes, trap people in cars across county

Cars make their way through flooded streets in Oceanside, where some drivers were stranded in Thursday’s thunderstorms.

December 6: Thunderstorms brought heavy rain, thunder, lightning and flooding to San Diego County. Officials rescued drivers who got stuck in their cars across the county and residents of an East Village homeless shelter were forced to take temporary shelter at SDCCU stadium for days.


National wave of bomb threats included dozens in San Diego

December 13: Officials investigated a wave of emailed bomb threats made across the country, including dozens in the greater San Diego area, none of which were deemed credible. Threats were received in about 20 states and in some Canadian cities. While no one was hurt and no explosives were ever discovered, the threats tied up law enforcement resources across the country and forced people to evacuate homes and businesses.

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