Decades later, July 18 will long be remembered as a horrific day in San Diego’s history. Now, the director of a new documentary hopes his movie will help San Diegans know and remember the victims, survivors and unknown heroes of the 1984 McDonald’s massacre.
Thirty-two years have gone by but the events of that day are still fresh in the mind of survivors like Wendy Flanagan.
”I don’t want to relive that day ever again," she said.
But sadly, she says she remembers everything whenever she hears news of another mass shooting.
“I go through it over and over. I relive it every time," she said.
On July 18, 1984, Flanagan was 16 years old, taking orders behind the register at a McDonald's in San Ysidro. At some point, she walked away from the front counter to get more ice.
And that’s when she heard the gunfire.
James Oliver Huberty opened fire inside the McDonald's, killing 21 people and injuring 19 others.
But director Charlie Minn says you won't see or hear the shooter's name anywhere in his new documentary about the tragic mass shooting.
“This coward’s name will not be in the film, but what he did that day was beyond comprehension.”
Instead, the focus of the movie is on the several victims of all ages who lost their lives, the untold stories of heroes who shielded others from the spray of bullets and the survivors who continue to live with the scars from that day.
Minn interviewed people like Flanagan for the documentary.
But Flanagan says she won't be joining other at the theaters when the film is released.
“I won’t watch the movie because it’s vivid already in my mind. And I don’t need to relive that. I have taken these 32 years trying to forget that day.”
The movie lasts 77 minutes, the same amount of time between the first call to police at 4 p.m. until the moment a SWAT marksman fired at single shot at the gunman, killing him.
On Monday, flowers adorned the memorial site in San Ysidro where the McDonald’s used to stand.
The movie will first open to people in San Diego on Friday, September 23. It will run at the Ultrastar Mission Valley-Hazard Center for at least a week.
Minn says he doesn’t hold back in the movie so many may find the images disturbing.