east village

Security Guard Shot, Killed Near Homeless Shelter

The suspect(s) have not been arrested as of Sunday evening

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An unarmed security guard was shot and killed while working outside an Alpha Project homeless shelter by a gunman who remained at large Sunday evening.

An employee at the Alpha Project, a nonprofit for homeless services, called 911 after hearing shots outside the temporary shelter located at 1700 Imperial Ave. around 7:30 p.m.

The guard, whose name has not been released, was on the sidewalk outside the downtown shelter Saturday night when he was shot several times. He was taken to a hospital where he died.

SDPD Lt. Martha Sainz said several people on the sidewalk ran away when they heard gunfire and could not give investigators a description of the shooter, or even say if the shots came from a vehicle. 

When officers arrived they found a man on the sidewalk suffering from gunshot wounds. He was transferred to a nearby hospital and later died, SDPD said.

"I was inside and I thought the gunshots were right outside the door," said shelter resident Sabrina Hilbert. "A lot of people were crying, and I started crying because I have never been so close to death."

The shelter was placed on lockdown for several hours during the investigation with about 128 men and women inside, CEO Bob McElroy said.

Police were still searching for the suspect in the East Village. NBC 7's Danica McAdam reports.

The city of San Diego opened the 130-bed homeless shelter recently in November. The Alpha Project, which also operates a shelter in downtown San Diego, was tapped to operate the new facility serving single adults, veterans, and families.

Anyone with information regarding this incident can call the Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

No other information was available.

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