A former San Diego City Councilman was targeted in a violent home invasion robbery according to investigators.
Former City Councilman Harry Mathis, his wife and a neighbor were attacked by three men with at least one gun at Mathis’ home on Sandburg Avenue in University City according to San Diego police.
When Mathis drove his Altima into his garage at 9 p.m. Wednesday, he was approached by a masked man with a gun who demanded money officers said.
“They get into a physical scuffle at some point the victim who is authorized to carry a fire arm fired two rounds in the direction of the suspect,” said Lt. David Rohowits with San Diego police.
The bullets missed the attacker who, in response, pistol-whipped Mathias in the head. Police do not believe the suspect was hit by the gunfire.
Mathis was then taken into the home. A neighbor was walking by the house when he heard gunfire and went to the house to investigate. Police originally said the neighbor was a woman. The intruders demanded the man join Mathis and his wife Mary in the house.
The suspects forced the three people into a bathroom and threatened to burn down the house if they moved Rohowits said.
One suspect set fire to the cars parked in the Mathis garage as the group left the property police said.
Mathis, 78, was hospitalized with head injuries.
MAST investigators were at the home collecting evidence early Thursday morning.
Three suspects are still on the loose.
The home was ransacked, but San Diego police have not said what may have been taken from the University City home
NBCSandiego has learned that this home has been burglarized multiple times before when no one was home, according to an office who patrols this area. A neighbor says this may be the fifth time the home has been targeted and that the Mathias family has reported several burglaries at their home since Thanksgiving.
"You have to wonder why somebody is targeting that house. I hope it's not that they're targeting Harry or Mary, but you have to wonder why that house," said neighbor Gary Hirschfeld.
Mathis is the current chair of the Metropolitan Transit System Board. In 1993, Mathis was elected to District 1 which included La Jolla, University City, Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley and Del Mar Heights.
He served in an era of really big personalities who fought loudly and openly during council meetings and Mathis was considered one of the more moderate leaders on the council.
Mathis is a retired U.S. Navy Captain who served as a submarine skipper. After his retirement from the military, he was a local businessman before entering politics.