Patrons of a Korean eatery along San Diego’s busy Convoy Street dropped to the ground and hid under tables when gunfire erupted just outside the restaurant Friday night.
“Everybody here, we thought it was an active shooter, so we all dropped down to the ground and under the tables,” witness Jamie Massie told NBC 7.
Massie was among many patrons inside the Min Sok Chon restaurant at 4620 Convoy St. Friday night when two men got into a heated argument that spilled into the parking lot and ended in gunfire. The eatery is located in a small shopping center like the many that line Convoy Street in San Diego’s Kearny Mesa area.
San Diego Police Department Sgt. Michael Tansey said a 38-year-old man was with a friend when they walked up to the entrance of the restaurant. They began talking with a group of patrons and, soon, that escalated into an argument between the 38-year-old man and another man.
They moved their altercation into the parking lot. Tansey said that’s when another patron came outside and pulled out a semi-automatic handgun.
The armed man shot the 38-year-old man – who has yet to be identified by police – four times. The victim suffered wounds to his torso and lower body, police said.
“I think he blew fists with another guy, and then that guy pulled a gun on him and shot him twice. It was right behind our car,” Massie recalled.
The gunman and the other patron involved in the argument ran away. They were last seen traveling southbound on Convoy Street, according to the SDPD.
The victim, breathing but in critical condition, was rushed to a local hospital where police said he underwent emergency surgery. As of 9 a.m. Saturday, the shooting victim’s condition was unknown.
As officers arrived at the scene of the shooting, they cordoned the shopping center and began interviewing witnesses. No one else was hurt in the shooting.
The shooting suspect and man involved in the fight remain at large. The gunman is described by police as a man in his late 20s, with a thin to medium build, standing at around 5-foot-6. He was wearing a black ski cap, black hooded sweatshirt, black sweatpants and black slippers, Tansey said. The shooting is being investigated by police, as well as SDPD gang detectives.
Massie said the incident was “pretty scary,” as she was with her family inside the restaurant at the time, including her 5-year-old grandson and her niece.
“We just heard two shots [while we were] inside. Most people thought it was firecrackers,” she explained.
After the gunfire ceased, Massie said her niece ran outside to help the victim, who had stumbled to the ground. She brought him towel to help stop his bleeding. Police officers arrived shortly thereafter.
Friday’s incident comes just days after the shooting at the Golden Dragon Asian Bistro in Hillcrest where suspected gunman Stefano Markell Parker, 29, fired 19 bullets into the eatery while nine people were inside.
The victims ducked for cover and, miraculously, no one was hurt.
In a San Diego courtroom on Friday, Parker was charged with 13 counts in connection with the shooting and, if convicted, could face 374 years in prison. San Diego police said Parker made a “disturbing” Facebook post prior to opening fire on the eatery, which is located in the heart of a neighborhood known for its LGBTQ community.
That case remains under investigation and police are still trying to determine Parker’s motive for the shooting.