Saturday 19 August 2017

Jilted gunman phoned ex as he shot strangers celebrating birthday at pool-party

The apartment complex in San Diego where the rampage took place. Photo: AP
The apartment complex in San Diego where the rampage took place. Photo: AP

Elliot Spagat San Diego

A gunman despondent over a break-up opened fire at a poolside birthday party and phoned his ex-girlfriend as he kept shooting strangers.

He killed one woman and injured six other partygoers before he was killed by officers, police said yesterday.

Peter Selis (49) sat on a pool chair during most of the rampage, calmly shooting guests at the party with a .45-caliber handgun. The victims were black and Latino and Selis was white, but police don't think race played a factor.

"These victims were just in his vicinity when he committed this terrible tragedy," Chief Shelley Zimmerman said. "What started as a celebration of a friend's birthday party turned into a tragedy of epic proportions."

Witnesses said Selis was wearing a black coat and sitting alone during the party for a man's 50th birthday on Sunday at an apartment complex near the University of California, San Diego.

At one point the guest of honour invited the man to join the party. That's when Selis drew a handgun and shot the host in the torso, said Demetrius Griffin, a friend at the party.

"He didn't stand up. He sat the whole time. Even when he reloaded his magazine, he sat in his chair," he said. "It was very eerie, to say the least. He didn't stand up. He didn't say anything. He just opened fire."

After shooting two people, Selis called his ex-girlfriend and said what he'd done and that police were there and then continued firing.

"It is apparent Selis wanted his ex-girlfriend to listen in as he carried out his rampage," Chief Zimmerman said.

Selis shot four black women, two black men and one Latino man, police said. Two victims remained in critical condition, but were expected to survive, she said. Another man was taken to the hospital after he broke his arm running away.

Rikky Galiendes (27) said he heard between eight to 10 gunshots around 6pm and looked outside his sixth-storey apartment in University City, a diverse neighbourhood near the campus. He spotted a man bleeding and running near the pool below.

Mr 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," Mr 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."

Mr Galiendes ran back inside and called police.

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, police said.

Three officers arrived and shot Selis after he pointed a large-calibre handgun at them.

Irish Independent

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