Gunman in San Diego apartment complex shooting was a car mechanic who had filed for bankruptcy – Los Angeles Times
The man who opened fire on a pool party at a luxury San Diego apartment complex Sunday evening, leaving one person dead and several others wounded before he was fatally shot by police, was a local car mechanic who appeared to be struggling with crushing debt, according to police and court records.
Peter Selis, 49, began shooting into a crowd of at least 30 people who were attending a pool party at the La Jolla Crossroads Apartments on Judicial Drive around 6 p.m., San Diego Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman said Sunday night.
Several witnesses told local media outlets that Selis, a white man, began shooting into a crowd largely comprised of African American men and women. Police had not described a motive in the shooting as of Monday morning.
A police helicopter reached the area first and, from above, authorities could see a shooter near the pool who appeared to be reloading his weapon, Zimmerman said.
Three police officers arrived and went to the pool area. There, Selis pointed what authorities described as a large-caliber handgun at police.
All three officers opened fire and Selis was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Zimmerman.
Seven people, all adults, were struck by gunfire: four black women, two black men and a Latino man. One of the women later died at the hospital, but her name has not been released, according to Zimmerman, who said several of the victims were critically injured.
A resident at the complex told KFMB-TV, the CBS affiliate in San Diego, that he was in his apartment about 6 p.m. when he heard gunshots followed by yelling and screams. He said he ran to his building’s clubhouse, where he could see the pool.
The shooter seemed at ease, he said, while bloodied victims struggled.
“He had his beer in one hand and his gun in the other,” said the witness, who provided only his first name, John, to the news station. “There were two victims lying on the ground, one trying to crawl toward the other one to help.”
Selis appeared to be having severe financial problems, and listed the apartment complex as his residence, according to a 2015 bankruptcy filing. He owed thousands to a number of different medical centers in the San Diego area, and had been subject to claims from a number of credit card companies, records show.
In total, Selis appeared to be in debt of more than $100,000, according to the filing.
Selis was married with two children and a stepson, records show. He had worked as a car mechanic at a San Diego Ford dealership since at least 2013, according to the filing.
A picture of Selis on the dealership’s website shows the broad-shouldered man with a receding hairline flashing a half-smile while wearing a navy blue mechanic’s smock.
A call to the dealership seeking comment was not immediately returned Monday morning.
Partygoer Drew Phillips told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Selis appeared calm before the attack. Phillips’ friend, who was celebrating his birthday, had approached Selis and offered him food just a few minutes before the gunfire erupted.
“Six or seven minutes later it’s just pow, pow, pow, pow — out of nowhere,” Phillips said. “…There was no indication that he was there to do evil.”
Congressman Scott Peters (D-San Diego) described the shooting as a “senseless act of violence” and praised the quick response from law enforcement.
“It’s especially awful to think that such a brutal attack can happen at a birthday party in the heart of our community,” he said in a statement. “This is a tragic reminder that even a city as prosperous and peaceful as San Diego is not immune to senseless acts of violence such as this.”
San Diego Union-Tribune staff writers Lindsay Winkley, Karen Kucher and Teri Figueroa contributed to this report.
8:20 a.m.: This story was updated with comments from Rep. Scott Peters.
This article was originally published at 7:15 a.m.