In yet another instance of senseless violence, a gunman entered an affluent San Diego apartment complex and opened fire at a poolside birthday party hosted by University of California students.
Peter Selis, 49, arrived outside the venue and was invited to attend the party by a guest there. According to videos, he lounged himself on a chair, took a beer, pulled out his cell phone to call his girlfriend and then proceeded to shoot the partygoers.
The suspect kept talking on the phone as he killed one woman, reportedly named Monique Clark, and critically injured six others. It was later reported that he called his girlfriend so she could “listen in” to the massacre. The man kept sitting cross-legged as he reloaded his gun at least once during the killing spree.
Though Selis himself was white and five out of six of his victims were people of color, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman says the crime was not racially motivated, despite witnesses claiming he let a white woman live.
However, Zimmerman asserts the man was just “despondent” about the break up of a four-year relationship with his girlfriend.
"The victims were targeted for no reason other than their mere presence," Zimmerman said. "What started as a celebration of a friend's birthday turned into a tragedy of epic proportions for all those in attendance."
Apparently, Selis broke up with his girlfriend, with whom he had been going out for four years, before the shooting, according to the San Diego Police Department. Family members suggested he was depressed by the event but he did not seem prone to violence.
The authorities are still investigating Selis’ background. So far, they have come up with no criminal background and one handgun registered in his name.
The suspect was listed as a car mechanic and had filed for bankruptcy in 2015, according to the US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of California. The document also stated that he had, at that time, a 12-year-old son, a 16-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old stepson.
He also owed a debt of over $108,000.
His Facebook post shows he belong to a large family who lived in different parts of San Diego.
According to witness accounts, Selis shot 30-40 gunshots and the area resembled a warzone.
Lauren Chapman, who is junior grade lieutenant in the US Navy and one of those people who ran for cover, said, “I dedicate my life serving my country understanding that my life is on the line when I'm out there. But at no point in time would I think an act of terror would take place at home in the way that it did.”
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters