Quantcast

Pool Party Gunman Called Exgirlfriend During Deadly Rampage

By Julie Watson and Elliot Spagat / Associated Press | 5/4/2017, midnight
A gunman distraught over a recent breakup calmly reclined in a pool chair as he shot strangers at a birthday ...

San Diego, CA (AP) — A gunman distraught over a recent breakup calmly reclined in a pool chair as he shot strangers at a birthday party and phoned his ex-girlfriend so she could hear the gunfire and screams of terror, San Diego police said Monday.

Before police fatally shot him, Peter Selis killed one woman and wounded six other people in a rampage that turned a birthday party into bedlam as shots echoed among upscale apartment towers, people ran for their lives and the wounded lay bleeding by the pool.

All but one of 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," police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said. "What started as a celebration of a friend's birthday party turned into a tragedy of just epic proportion for all those in attendance."

Selis, 49, was despondent and depressed over a recent breakup, though family and friends interviewed by police had no hint of any sinister plot.

As children splashed in the pool Sunday, a family soaked in a hot tub and others ate chips and hot dogs, the gunman stood out from the crowd of about 35 as he sat by the pool gate wearing a heavy black jacket on a hot day, said Demetrius Griffin, a guest at the party.

The shooting began after the man celebrating his 50th birthday approached Selis. Griffin assumed his friend, who was always welcoming, invited the man to join the fun.

Instead, he pulled a gun from his waistband, shot the party host twice in the torso and then opened fire on the party, Griffin said.

"It was very eerie, to say the least," Griffin said. "He didn't stand up. He didn't say anything. He just opened fire."

Griffin briefly froze and then dropped to the ground as six rounds sent people scattering and dropped others on the pool deck.

After shooting two people, Selis, a resident at the complex, called his ex-girlfriend to tell her what he'd done.

"Selis stayed on the phone talking to his ex-girlfriend as he continued to fire his weapon," Zimmerman said. "It is apparent that Selis wanted his ex-girlfriend to listen in as he carried out his rampage."

During the brief call, Selis told the woman that he had shot two police, the police were arriving and then "made some reference to 'shooting it out' or something along those lines," Assistant Police Chief Brian Ahearn said.

The woman heard two more gunshots before the line went dead, he said.

At 6:06 p.m., a caller told police two people had been shot at the La Jolla Crossroads complex on Judicial Drive. Several other callers reported hearing gunfire and people screaming.

Rikky Galiendes, a student at the University of California, San Diego, said he heard between eight and 10 gunshots, looked outside his sixth-story apartment and saw a bleeding man running near the pool below.

"The whole thing was really emotionally draining — seeing blood everywhere, seeing bodies on the ground, hoping they survived, seeing bloody footsteps you know of people who ran away," Galiendes said. "There was just so much blood."