Downtown San Diego

TikTok Star Pleads Not Guilty to Killing Wife, Her Friend in Downtown San Diego High-Rise

The suspect’s wife and her friend were shot and killed in an apartment unit on the 35th floor of the Spire San Diego building on Island Avenue, and a suspect was taken into custody on a nearby freeway less than an hour later

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The woman killed last Thursday afternoon in a downtown high-rise double-slaying was married to the suspected shooter -- a comedian with more than a million combined followers on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube -- who entered a not-guilty plea in the case on Monday, according to prosecutors.

Ali Nassar Abulaban, 29, was booked into San Diego Central Jail last week on two counts of murder hours after a shooting on the 35th floor of the Spire San Diego luxury apartment complex on Island Avenue in the East Village.

NBC 7's Artie Ojeda breaks down what we know about SDPD's suspect so far.

On Monday, Deputy District Attorney Taran Brast said Abulaban killed his wife, Ana Abulaban, 29, and friend Rayburn Barron, 28, of National City because Ali thought Ana was cheating on him.

Ana was in the process of ending the marriage, Brast told NBC 7, and asked Ali to leave the apartment on Oct. 18. He began stalking her, prosecutors say, and on Thursday morning, Ali vandalized the home in the Spire San Diego building in the East Village and also installed an app on his daughter’s iPad that allowed him to monitor activity in the apartment, according to prosecutors.

On Thursday's afternoon, Ali heard his wife with another man, Brast said, then he returned to the Spire with loaded gun and shot Barron three times — in the neck, cheek and back of the head at close range — and also fired one bullet into his wife’s forehead.

There is also Nest video from a neighbor's apartment showing Ali leaving the home, according to Brast.

In court on Monday, family members and friends gasped and cried when they heard details of the killing.

When Abulaban was taken into custody, the couple’s 5-year-old daughter was with him in the vehicle, leading to speculation that she had been in the home during the killings. However, on Monday, Brast said she was not at home at the time and had been picked up by Abulaban at school afterward.

Brast said that Abulaban confessed to the killing both to his mother as well as to the police. He also, at the time, told his daughter, he "hurt mommy," Brast told the court on Monday.

According to investigators, it’s not the first time Abulaban has harmed his wife. Brast said there was an earlier incident of domestic violence that was reported in September, during which Ali pushed Ana, causing an injury in an incident that was witnessed by the couple's daughter. No restraining order was issued, however.

At the courthouse Monday, dozens of people showed up for the afternoon arraignment.

Prosecutors can consider special circumstance enhancement in charging Ali, according the the district attorney, due to the fact that multiple victims were killed.

In arguing for no bail, Brast called Ali a clear danger to the community and a flight risk. The judge ordered Ali held without bail. He's due back in court on Oct. 28 for bail review. The preliminary hearing in the case is slated for Jan. 5.


According to San Diego police, someone called 911 at about 3 p.m. on Thursday to report the shooting. Police found a Ana Abulaban and a Barron dead with gunshot wounds in the living room.

That caller was believed to be Abulaban, who fled the scene and was later found near the Interstate 805/I-15 junction with his five-year-old daughter, according to police.

Abulaban was taken into custody and his daughter was taken into protective services, police said.

Alis Abulaban’s Social Media Presence

Prior to the shooting, Ali Abulaban had gained some fame as a TikTokker with the handle JinnKid, garnering nearly a million followers, and also posted frequently on his YouTube Channel, where he had 170,000 subscribers.

Most of Ali’s content appears to be focused on comedy and impersonations, with Ana making occasional appearances. Last week, he posted voice impressions of Al Pacino, Nicolas Cage, 6ix9ine and Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface.

NBC 7's Dana Griffin has the latest from investigators.

SDPD's Homicide Unit is continuing to investigate the killings. Anyone with information is asked to call the Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. 

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