A 21-year-old woman gunned down in the Gaslamp early Sunday morning has been identified and now police are searching for possible witnesses who may have photographed events leading up to the shooting.
Lakiesha Mason, 21, was one of three victims shot on 5th Avenue and E Street about 2 a.m. after a gunman opened fire on a large crowd, Lt Terry McManus said. A vacationer who was staying at a nearby hotel says she heard the rapid gunfire.
“We heard a lot of noise out on the street and we looked out and there was like hundreds of people on all four corners, you know just partying,” the witness said. “Then about five minutes later I heard like five gunshots.”
The witness, who asked to remain anonymous, described the sound as firecrackers.
“Then we heard all these people screaming and just running -- so I called 911 and it was on hold for a good 5 to 10 minutes,” she said. “It was horrible. It was horrific… it’s just a horrible thing to happen.”
Officers were flagged down -- when they arrived they found three victims with gunshot wounds.
The victims were taken to local trauma centers – Mason was pronounced dead at UCSD hospital at 2:30 a.m. Friends on Twitter said she was celebrating her birthday.
“I was right there when it happened. She was smiling cause it was her birthday,” one tweet said. “Her smile and happiness is the last thing I remember too… I feel drained,” said another.
The other two victims, Richard Turner, 26, and a 34-year-old man, both underwent surgery. Turner’s family says he was shot five times.
“He got shot twice in the chest, in the face and in both arms. He’s lost part of his lung and he’s waking up now, so God is with him,” Turner’s aunt, Mimi Kennedy said.
She says Turner was in the club with Mason celebrating her birthday – she had turned 21 just two hours before. A fight broke out and spilled outside onto the streets.
“When they came out of the club there was just shooting and I heard he got shot… and the girl next to him got shot,” Kennedy said. “There was a third person but we have no idea who it is.”
Kennedy says someone has her nephew’s cell phone and they want it back.
“Someone keeps calling us from his number and we need to know who it is… whoever it is, you need to return that phone,” she said.
Investigators are asking for the public's cooperation to help them find evidence.
“The on-going investigation has revealed that there may be potential witnesses who perhaps photographed portions of the events leading up to the shooting, via cell phone cameras,” McManus said.
Turner’s aunt says she’s sick to death of the violence and calls it sad, ignorant and pitiful. She thinks all gang members should be locked away in jail.
“Richard wasn’t a gang member, he was a good student, and he was actually going to be going to college. He was a good person; he was trying to coach a little league football team. For him to go celebrate with friends and end up like this, I think it’s sad,” she said -- and she has a message to gang bangers. “I hope they all get what they deserve – all of them.”
A witness says he was staying at the Gaslamp Plaza Suites when he heard the commotion.
“By the time we got to the window and looked out we just saw people scattering on the street, running away,” Solana Beach resident Brian Robinson said. “There was a lot of yelling and people screaming and crying.”
He says this kind of crime is unusual for this part of town.
“It’s a very nice area, we haven’t had any problems; we’ve stayed here all week,” the Solana Beach resident said. “According to a guy in the hotel, this is the first time he remembers anything happening in about three years.
The suspect is described as 21-years-old, 6'1", thin build with short hair and a medium complexion. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark colored jeans.
Anyone with information should call the Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.