Seven adults were shot, one woman fatally, when a gunman who witnesses said never left his poolside chair opened fire on a birthday party at an University City apartment complex Sunday.
Police shot and killed the suspect, later identified as 49-year-old Peter Selis, a resident at the upscale La Jolla Crossroads complex on Judicial Drive near the Westfield UTC Shopping Center.
A 2015 bankruptcy filing stated that Selis, a father and a car mechanic at a Ford dealership in San Diego, faced crushing debt.
Authorities said the shooter, armed with a semi-automatic pistol, was white and all the victims were people of color — four black women, two black men and one Latino man. The woman killed was not identified.
Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said investigators have not determined a motive, and were still interviewing witnesses. Authorities were unsure if Selis knew any of the victims.
Partygoer Drew Phillips said shortly before the 6 p.m. shooting, his friend — who was celebrating his birthday — had approached Selis and offered him food and drink. The man declined, and continued to sit quietly yards away.
“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.”
Everyone scattered, including a man who fell and broke his arm. Witnesses said there were about 30 people at the pool. At least one of the partygoers lived at the complex.
Phillips, of Escondido, said he hopped a fence where he spotted a Latino man he’d met minutes earlier at the party. He had been shot in his abdomen.
“He was just laying there, and just the look in his eyes — sheer terror,” Phillips said. “I threw my phone down. I just picked him up and I just carried him. I basically ran as fast as I could with him in my arms.”