Employees struck as Hillcrest businesses targeted in drive-by pellet gun shootings

San Diego police said two Hillcrest businesses appear to have been targets of the pellet gun shootings and officers are investigating whether two other incidents may be connected

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At least four LGBTQ+ hot spots in Hillcrest were the targets this weekend of drive-by pellet gun shootings that injured employees, San Diego police confirmed.

Just after midnight Saturday, the suspect or suspects fired pellets out of a vehicle toward four Hillcrest establishments on 5th Avenue and University: The Rail bar, Rich's nightclub, Number 1 Fifth Ave, and Pec's.

All businesses tout themselves as LGBTQ+ friendly hang-outs although San Diego police have not yet determined a motive for the shootings or determined whether the attacks were targeting LGBTQ+ businesses.

Two of the targeted businesses spoke with NBC 7 and provided surveillance video of the incident.

Isaac Vargas, the owner of the Rail, shared video that shows the moment their security guard was shot in the arm by a pellet. Vargas said the incident immediately sent their staff into defensive mode.

“So as soon as that happened, we’re like OK. Shut down the patio and get everybody inside,” Vargas said.

No one else was injured in that incident.

San Diego police said the suspect(s) then targeted Rich's nightclub. Owner, Ryan Bedrosian, said several of his staff members were struck by projectiles, including Eddie Reynoso, who was hit near the eye. Surveillance video provided to NBC 7 by Rich's captured the moment.

“They were driving by pretty fast, but they also slowed down. I saw two people hanging out the window, it appeared as if one of them may have been recording, Reynoso said. "That’s kind of what caught my attention and when I looked at the backseat, I just saw someone holding like an automatic gun and my reaction was to crouch, but by then, it was too late, you know. They had already fired and you could hear the noise, a 'pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.'”

Moments later he said he felt something explode, fell to the ground and thought he had been shot.

“You know, your head kind of flies kind of backwards with something like that and you just assume the worst,” Reynoso said.

Reynoso remembers people rushing to help him.

“The whole time I’m just thinking whatever I felt explode, I thought it was my eye and it’s just a frightening feeling,” Reynoso said.

He is grateful that his vision was not damaged.

“It could have been worse, you know, I could have had major eye damage,” Reynoso said.

Reynoso wants those responsible to consider the consequences of their actions.  

“You really have to think of the consequences something can go wrong in the blink of an eye. I mean no pun intended. Something can go wrong really, really quickly, and it could have major effects on multiple people, on yourself, the individual you shot, but also on your family,” he said.

San Diego Police is asking anyone with information to call their non-emergency line at 619-531-2000. Authorities have not yet determined a motive for the shootings or determined whether the attacks were targeting LGBTQ+ businesses.

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