Killer Ambushed Coronado Murder Victims: Detectives

Detectives did not mention acquaintance who called 911 the night of the murder

By Michelle Wayland, Lauren Steussy and Steven Luke
|  Thursday, Apr 26, 2012  |  Updated 2:20 PM PDT
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Coronado Crime Scene

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Killer Ambushed Coronado Murder Victims

New details were released Wednesday in the investigation of four people found dead in a Coronado condo on New Year's Day. Steven Luke spoke to Jan Caldwell with the San Diego Sheriffs Department about the chain of events on the night of the murder-suicide.

Remembering Coronado Victim, Karen Reis

It was an emotional night as friends gathered at San Dieguito Academy to remember a 24-year-old UCSD graduate who loved to teach volleyball.
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New details were released Wednesday in the investigation of four people found dead in a Coronado condo on New Year's Day.

The deaths of Navy Pilot David Andrew Reis, 25, his sister, Karen Reis, 24 and Matthew Christopher Saturley, 31, were ruled as homicides by the San Diego County Medical Examiner in January. The death of Navy Pilot, John Robert Reeves, 25, was ruled a suicide.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff's Department announced its investigators have concluded their forensic analysis. They determined that all the firearms used in the murder were fired by Reeves before he took his own life.

Click here for a timeline of events in the Coronado murder-suicide investigation.

In the newly released synopsis, detectives said Reeves entered the condo on Park Place before any of the three friends, plus one acquaintance who survived. Sheriff's Department Spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said detectives pieced together the events of the evening. The detectives said Reeves told the others he had to use the restroom, so he ran inside.

"What they don't know is that he is laying in wait," Caldwell said. "He gathers a rifle and a handgun and goes up to the third floor and he waits with his weapons."

Karen Reis and Saturley, who met that night and had established a connection, entered shortly after, Caldwell said.  When they reached the doorway of the third-floor bedroom, Reeves shot Saturley multiple times in the torso with the rifle, then shot Karen Reis in the chest and face with the rifle.

Caldwell said on Wednesday that Reeves had feelings for Karen. The feelings were not mutual, although the two remained friends.

When David Reis heard his sister's screams, he immediately ran inside. As he made his way up the staircase on the second floor, Reeves shot him with his handgun from behind.

Reeves then shot himself in the head with his handgun according to the report. No motive was given. In a medical examiner's report, Reeves' blood alcohol content was .16 percent -- about twice the legal limit.

"Why would he do something like that? Tragically with most of these cases, almost all of these cases, the person that does the crime takes the motivation with them to the grave," Caldwell said. "We can opine, we can theorize, but really the only person who knows why he did this, is gone."

The new details released Wednesday made no mention of the unnamed male acquaintance, who the Sheriff's Department's Capt. Duncan Fraser said met the four people that night in the Altitude Sky Lounge downtown, along with Saturley.

The four left the nightclub after midnight and headed to the condo on Park Place with the acquaintance. David Reis and the acquaintance stayed outside. After the first gunshots were fired and David Reis went inside, the acquaintance ran less than half a block away and called 911.

Detectives also found four guns on scene. In Wednesday's report, they said Reeves owned the two that were used in the murder, but made no mention of the other two.

Reeves and David Reis were roommates and F/A-18 pilots assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101, Marine Aircraft Group 11, Third Marine Aircraft Wing, according to base officials.  Both were awarded the National Defense Service Medal.

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