San Diego Police officers guard the entrance to a row of condominiums on Affinity Court following a shooting on the evening of Sunday, April 29. (photo by John Gregory)
Murder suspect arrested Monday
San Diego police arrested a 15-year-old suspect early Monday morning, April 30, for the murder of his father.
The evening calm the night before was broken by the beating rotors of a police helicopter as law enforcement officers responded to a 911 call about a shooting. Police arrived on the scene at Affinity Court in Scripps Ranch at about 8:40 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, where a 46-year-old man was shot inside a condo in the 11200 block of Affinity Court.
The suspect, a teenage male, was apprehended later near a gas station Monday around 1 a.m., close to the I-15 overpass on Scripps Poway Parkway. Police were alerted to the teenager wandering around the area.
Videos by local news outlets show a young man with a backpack walking along a sidewalk. A female police officer made the arrest, placing handcuffs on the suspect. Then, more police cars arrived at the scene with lights flashing. They also show the suspect in handcuffs as police placed a handgun atop a police car along with several rounds of ammunition, which were reportedly found on the suspect. Police covered the suspect’s hands with bags and taped them to preserve any evidence of gunshot residue.
Earlier Sunday evening, at least one police helicopter roamed the skies above Scripps Ranch for nearly a half hour in search of the suspect. Most of the search appears to have been carried out along Erma Road, Scripps Vista Way, Scripps Ranch Boulevard, I-15 and the very eastern end of Mira Mesa Boulevard.
The fact that the suspect, apparently moving on foot, traveled miles northward and evaded law enforcement authorities for approximately four hours and 20 minutes on a still Sunday evening into the first hour of Monday morning is surprising, especially considering that multiple police vehicles and a police helicopter were involved in the search, not to mention the fact that many area residents were alerted to the incident. Most modern police helicopters are equipped with enhanced optics, high intensity search lights and forward looking infrared sensors that highlight the heat signature of everything from vehicles to animals to humans. It’s difficult to escape this assortment of technological advantages searching from above, especially during a quiet evening.
During a brief press conference, San Diego Police Lt. Anthony Dupree said the suspect’s older brother called 911 Sunday night to report that his father had been shot. When officers arrived at the scene, they told the brother and the mother, who were in the home, to wait outside. The officers found the victim in a bedroom with a gunshot wound to the upper body and attempted to revive him using CPR, Dupree said. Paramedics took over the resuscitation efforts upon their arrival, but they were unsuccessful. The victim died at the scene, Dupree stated.
Residents living in condos along the street-wide driveway branching north from the main Affinity Court artery where the shooting took place were affected by the incident Sunday night because the area was sealed off as police guarded the scene and patrolled the neighborhood.
Muk Narong lives in a building next to where the shooting took place.
“I saw and heard when the police arrived,” she said.
“The family pretty much kept to themselves,” Narong explained. “I am a property owner at this (location) since 1998. But I was away for almost 10 years. When I returned in 2015, the family (was) already there. My sons are about the same age as the boy. My sons tried to make friends with the boy but he never (talked to them). He did not go to regular Scripps Ranch school. My sons never see him either at Marshall or SRHS. The boy seems to be sweet and quiet.”
Narong said she saw the teenager’s father taking him somewhere, presumably to school, around the same time her family leaves in the morning. She said her husband saw them return at the same time her children arrive home each day.
Narong, whose unit is on the top floor of her building, said she did not see or hear the gunshots or anything unusual the night of the shooting.
“The whole thing got our attention when I heard the police make an announcement at the garage door,” she said. “I heard them say to come out nicely or they will let the dog go in.”
Narong said she was extremely glad when she saw that the garage was not her family’s. She said she prayed nothing bad would happen to anyone in the complex, but she learned more from exchanges on social media that evening. Narong said she was in doubt that the teenage suspect could have been the one who fired the gun until she saw on Facebook that the boy was in custody Monday morning.
The identities of the victim, the suspect or the family members have not been officially released, but it was revealed that the suspect was a student attending Mira Mesa High School. While there is no evidence to suggest that the teen intended to do any harm at the school, Mira Mesa High Principal Jeff Sabins released a notice to the parents of his students on Monday informing them of the incident and assuring them that safety is the school’s number one priority. The statement also announced that additional counselors would be available if any students or staff members needed to speak with them about the incident.
Meanwhile, residents in the surrounding neighborhood where the crime occurred are still affected.
“We had to cross the yellow ribbon to get to school and work this morning,” Narong said.
“Whatever happened is still shaking everyone in the community,” she added. “I just keep on praying for the family.”
By late Monday afternoon the police tape had been removed from the entrance to the wide driveway leading up to the condominium where the shooting took place, and everything remained calm. Still, there were reminders of the incident: three television news vans were lined up near the area in preparation for Monday evening news reports.