A San Diego man accused of firing a gun at a small day care center owned by his ex-girlfriend while seven children were inside – hiding in the bathroom – could face life in prison.
Gustavo Sepulveda, 36, appeared in court for the first time Thursday, dressed in a blue jumpsuit and sitting in a wheelchair.
He pleaded not guilty to a long list of charges that included one count of the premeditated attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend, 10 counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, seven counts of child endangerment and two counts of arson. He could face life in prison for the attempted murder charge.
A judge set Sepulveda’s bail at $5 million and ordered that Sepulveda have no direct or indirect contact with the nearly one dozen people inside the day care at the time of the shooting, including his ex and the seven children.
On Monday at around 2:45 p.m., Sepulveda went to his ex-girlfriend's home on Corte Condesa near Mt. Miguel Road in the San Miguel Ranch area, presumably to pick up a mattress.
The home also serves as a day care center for children ages one to eight. Seven children were under the care of the facility at the time.
Sepulveda's ex-girlfriend called the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) to report he was outside, trying to break in.
The victim told police Sepulveda had lit a car on fire near the home and his behavior was growing increasingly violent.
Sepulveda was armed with a handgun, which he began firing into the home, shattering the glass doors at the back. He then walked through the broken doors and into the day care.
Police said another day care employee rounded up the kids and locked them in a bathroom to protect them from Sepulveda.
Meanwhile, the owner of the day care armed herself with a gun and, according to CVPD investigators, fired her weapon in self-defense to keep the suspect away. She fired one shot and CVPD Lt. Dan Peak said Sepulveda was not hit by the gunfire.
Police said Sepulveda then set several fires to the home, causing smoke to build up inside.
CVPD officers soon arrived at the day care and ordered Sepulveda to drop his weapon. He was arrested without incident.
The children and employees were safely evacuated and were unharmed. The names of the victims were not released.
The investigation is ongoing; anyone with information on this case can reach out to the CVPD at (619) 691-5151.
Sepulveda, per the judge at his arraignment Thursday, was on probation for a felony DUI at the time of Monday's day care ordeal. He also has two other misdemeanors on his criminal record.
Sepulveda is due back in court on Oct. 16.