A roadside argument between two men Thursday morning over an attempted car theft ended in a shooting and the death of a man in El Cajon, police said.
The fatal shooting happened around 9:30 a.m. at the 1300 block of East Main Street, near El Cajon Inn and Suites, El Cajon police Lt. Royal Bates said.
An off-duty security guard interrupted a possible car theft or carjacking, Bates said. During the incident, the owner of the car was also involved in an altercation with the suspect, he said.
“It looked like a scuffle between two people,” Jeannette Gardina told NBC 7.
She was across the street when she saw a man holding a gun. He was facing another man while backing up at the same time, she said.
Police said at some point during the, the car owner fired a handgun, fatally hitting the suspect.
Gardina said there were two noises that sounded like a cap gun.
"The third time, the guy went down," she said.
Yser Hermes was working at a nearby tobacco store when he heard two noises that sounded like gunshots.
"Before I go around, I hear three other shots," he said. "I heard people saying outside, 'Stay down.'"
Both witnesses said El Cajon police arrived quickly and detained the man who was armed and performed CPR on the man who was shot.
The investigation shut down a stretch of East Main Street in both directions from Madison Avenue to Walter Way about 9:45 a.m., the El Cajon police said.
About a half-dozen patrol vehicles and a Critical Incident Response Team van were at the scene near the El Cajon Inn and Suites.
Vickie Bendixen, who claims to be the gunman's mother-in-law, said the man who was detained by police was defending his property.
When the man realized someone was stealing items from his car, he ran back to the motel room to grab his gun, she said.
“The guy was in the car taking things,” Bendixen said crying. “It’s come to the point where everybody has to take care of themselves. It’s a shame that it happened.”
The man, who had been living at the motel with his adult daughter, recently got a job after going through some hard times, Bendixen said.
The investigation was near a strip mall on Jamacha Boulevard and North Second Street that housed several small restaurants, a Walmart, a Walgreens and a Sprouts Farmer's Market.
On Friday, El Cajon police updated the case saying the investigation is ongoing into a "probable carjacking and vehicle burglary" according to a news release.
Investigators say no arrests have been made. They added that they do not believe the man who fired the gun and the man who was killed are acquaintances.