Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Mass Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Murder, Attempted Murder

The 32-year-old alleged gunman is accused of using an unregistered firearm to carry out the violence, according to San Diego police

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The man accused of killing one person and injuring four others in a mass shooting in the Gaslamp Quarter last week pleaded not guilty on Thursday to the charges he faces in connection to the violence.

In a virtual hearing Thursday, San Diego resident Travis Sarreshteh, 32, pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and four counts of attempted murder after he allegedly gunned down five people in what police said was an unprovoked attack carried out with a 9mm “ghost gun.”

"It was a ghost gun, or unserialized firearm," San Diego Police Department Chief David Nisleit said, "and it's very concerning. We are seeing a lot of ghost guns."

The shooting began at about 10:30 p.m. on April 22 when the alleged gunman approached 28-year-old Justice Boldin, who was working as a valet at the Pendry San Diego hotel at the time. Authorities said the defendant pulled out a handgun and shot Boldin. Witness reported seeing the suspect begin to walk away then quickly turning around to fire another shot at the victim, who died at the scene.

Afterward, the suspect began to walk north on Fifth Avenue and had an argument with a group of men. SDPD Lt. Andra Brown said the defendant opened fire again, striking four more victims at Fifth and Island avenues before taking off and walking away in what was described as a casual manner.

San Diego's police chief says to expect an increased police presence in the Gaslamp Quarter for the next several weeks in response to a mass shooting on Fifth Avenue last night that killed one man and injured four more, reports NBC 7's Alexis Rivas.

His rampage was put to an end when two brave good Samaritans stepped in and tackled the suspect. They detained him until police arrived and the suspect was ultimately arrested.

Nisleit said the defendant was not cooperative with police and mentioned that he invoked his 5th Amendment right. He added that the suspect has a criminal history, but did not offer details.

The suspected gunman kept on walking after shooting four men in the Gaslamp until two men decided to chase and stop him before he could pull the trigger again. NBC 7's Amber Frias spoke to one of those men.

The alleged gunman appeared in court on Tuesday on an unrelated charge he faces for allegedly posing as a security officer for a marijuana business without having a license to do so. Court documents state that he did not show up for an initial court appearance in connection to the case, which resulted in a warrant for his arrest.

All four surviving victims in last week’s carnage are expected to survive, according to authorities. They were identified as Alexander Balis, 26, of Mullica Hill, New Jersey; Vincent Gazzani, 27, of Perrineville, New Jersey; Jatil Kodati, 28, of Jersey City, New Jersey; and 68-year-old San Diego resident Steven Ely.

The defendant is being kept on a no-bail hold. He is scheduled to make another court appearance on May 19 for a readiness hearing and again on June 9 for a preliminary hearing.

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