SAN DIEGO -- San Diego's police chief says race was not a factor in the shooting of six black people and one Latino man at anand the gunman was despondent over a recent breakup with his girlfriend.
Chief Shelley Zimmerman said Monday that the shooter, 49-year-old Peter Selis, was speaking with his ex-girlfriend on his cell phone during the rampage. Zimmerman said Selis lived in the complex where the shooting happened. She said he entered the pool area, laid on a lounge chair, called his ex-girlfriend and told her he just shot two people and police were arriving.
Selis "wanted his ex-girlfriend to listen in as he carried out his rampage," Zimmerman said during a morning press conference. "The victims just happened to be present."
She said the victims were targeted at random as Selis shot "indiscriminately" into the crowd, at first while still lying on the lounge chair. A witness told CBS affiliate KFMB he was drinking a beer. Police responded after frantic 911 calls flooded into a dispatch center.
"What started off as a celebration of a friend's birthday party turned into a tragedy of just epic proportions for all those in attendance at the pool party," Zimmerman said.
A police helicopter arrived first, and the pilot reported seeing multiple victims on the ground and that Selis appeared to be reloading in the pool area, Zimmerman said.
Three officers arrived and shot Selis after he pointed a large-caliber handgun at them, she said. Selis was pronounced dead at the scene.
An additional victim fell and broke an arm while fleeing, though was not shot, police said.
Zimmerman says Selis' family knew he was distraught over the breakup that happened a few days before the rampage, but said there was no indication he would resort to violence. He has no apparent criminal history. Zimmerman said it didn't appear Selis planned the rampage, but "made a terrible choice to commit unspeakable violence."
Zimmerman said that all six of those wounded are expected to survive. Two remain in critical condition, but are stable.
Witness Rikky Galiendes, 27, heard gunshots around 6 p.m. and went to look outside his sixth-story apartment. He spotted a man bleeding and running near the pool below. Galiendes said he called out to ask if the man needed help when his roommate grabbed him, yanked him down and pointed toward a man sitting in a chair with a gun.
"When we looked over the balcony, he was just sitting down with a gun on his lap," Galiendes said. "He was calm, you know. I mean from my perspective, the guy was ready to do whatever he was going to do. He shot at people having a good time and having a party."
Galiendes and his roommate ran back inside and called police.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer praised the "heroic" actions of police and first responders and said their quick actions "absolutely precluded further bloodshed."
"This is truly a horrific act of violence that took place here today," he said at a news conference. "Our entire city, all of our thoughts and prayers, all San Diegans' thoughts and prayers, are with the victims and their families tonight."