The San Diego man accused of killing one woman and wounding seven other people at a weekend birthday party called a former girlfriend after he’d begun shooting, police said on Monday.
Peter Selis, 49, opened fire Sunday during a party held at a San Diego-area apartment complex’s swimming pool. Police shot and killed him around 6:13 p.m. when he pointed a gun at officers, according to NBC San Diego.
Selis was despondent over a recent break-up and phoned his ex right after he had shot two people, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told reporters Monday morning.
Seven of the victims were African Americans, but Zimmerman said she doesn’t believe the mass shooting was racially motivated.
“There is zero information to indicate race played a role,” Zimmerman said. “The victims were targeted because of proximity.”
One woman was killed in the shooting. She has not been identified. All other victims are expected to survive, although two remain in critical but stable condition, according to San Diego station KGTV.
It is unclear whether Selis, a resident of the apartment complex, knew the victims. One witness told NBC San Diego that the tenant who was celebrating his birthday invited Selis to join the party. That’s when Selis raised his shirt, took out a gun and shot him in the stomach. He is expected to survive.
One witness told the station that Selis smirked during the shooting. Another said he was holding a beer in one hand and a gun in the other.
Kaela Wong, 20, who was sitting in a nearby hot tub, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Selis threatened some women who were trying to help a victim. “You can either leave or you can stay here and die,” Wong said she heard Selis say.
The shooting ended shortly after officers arrived on the scene, according to Zimmerman. Twenty officers and a police helicopter had been sent. Selis was observed apparently reloading his weapon. Officers fired when he then pointed it at them.
Amit Godbole heard the gunfire from his apartment, he told the Union-Tribune.
“It was like a war zone or something,” Godbole said. “There would be three or four shots, a pause and then more shots. I was trying to count them. I counted 30 or 40.”
For the past two years, Selis, who worked as a car mechanic, had struggled with massive debt and a failing marriage, according to the New York Daily News.
Court records show he filed for bankruptcy in October 2015, claiming debts of $108,028 and only $14,100 in assets. At the time, he listed a 12-year-old daughter, a 16-year-old son and a 19-year-old stepson on the forms.
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