Police in the upscale city of Coronado are looking for a gunman who pulled off a series of brazen robberies on Saturday.
“It’s all anybody’s talking about,” Coronado resident Nancy Howden said. “Things like that just don’t happen here.”
The crime spree began around 10:30 p.m., when the suspect pulled out a gun and robbed a couple sitting on a bench in Centennial Park, a usually idyllic spot on Coronado’s north shore that has been memorialized in thousands of photos, with the skyline of downtown San Diego across the water.
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After the gunman took the couple’s cell phones and other valuables, he went to the opposite side of the park, selecting a group of five people as his next target, and again pulled out a gun.
Heading west, the suspect, who police said is in his early to mid-20s and has tattoos on his face, made his way toward the parking lot of Ferry Landing, where he encountered a woman. Police said he pistol-whipped the victim in the head. Then three people approached, and they became the robber’s next victims.
The group of five victims from Centennial Park had also made their way to the parking lot. After a struggle, they managed to take the robber’s gun. The suspect, however, was able to run away and took off in an unknown vehicle, police said.
Police said two of the victims were hurt fighting the suspect but only had minor injuries. The woman who was attacked, however, was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Juanita and Mark Chiu were in San Diego visiting from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The couple said they were uneasy at first about coming to the park on Monday.
“We were disappointed, of course, and talking about whether we should come or not and so we decided we would and just be aware of our surroundings,” Juanita Chiu said.
Anyone with information about the crime spree or gunman — who was wearing a gray or black T-shirt and black shoes, and was described as being thin — is being urged to call (619) 522-7350. Coronado police are specifically asking people or businesses in the area with security cameras to contact them.
The area is surrounded by cameras and windows so people may have witnessed the robberies. The Coronado Ferry Landing HOA told NBC 7 that one of their cameras captured part of the altercation and that video is being turned over to police.
Teen Shot During 2020 Jewelry Robbery in Downtown Coronado
While crime is not unheard of in Coronado, Saturday’s robberies do stand out in a city with a very low crime rate. Area residents were shocked in 2020 when a teenager selling a gold necklace to someone he met on social media was shot on Orange Avenue in May of that year.
Three teenagers were eventually arrested in connection to the shooting of 18-year-old Jacob McKanry in downtown Coronado on the evening of May 4. McKanry believed he was meeting up with prospective jewelry buyers after setting up the sale online.
While negotiating the proposed sale, which had been coordinated on the app OfferUp, the suspects allegedly snatched the jewelry away from McKanry, then shot him while fleeing.
McKanry sat down with NBC 7 after being released from the hospital and described the confrontation that left him down in the street.
“I just thought of all the things that I hadn’t done yet, and there was a voice just telling me that, you know, I wasn’t gonna die,” said McKanry.
City News Service contributed to this report — Ed.