San Diego

Homicide Detectives Investigate Deadly Shooting in the Gaslamp Quarter

Witnesses told police they saw two men leave the scene in a taxi

A man initially arrested in the Monday shooting death of a chef in the Gaslamp Quarter is now considered a person of interest, police said. 

Joseph Aaron Holtz, 33, was shot at least once in the torso just before 2 a.m. after a confrontation between two groups near the intersection of 5th Avenue and Market Street, outside Blue Point Coastal Cuisine, the San Diego Police Department said. 

People in the area rushed to aid Holtz. Medics arrived and took over life-saving efforts but he was pronounced dead at the scene about 20 minutes after he was shot, SDPD Lt. Matt Dobbs said. 

Witnesses told police they saw two men leave the scene in a taxi. Those two men were located at 15th Street and Imperial Avenue, less than a mile from where the shooting occurred, and were taken into custody for questioning, Dobbs said. 

One of the men, 23-year-old Jonathan Hernandez, was arrested and booked into jail, Dobbs said. 

However, on Wednesday, Dobbs said Hernandez was considered a person of interest, not a suspect.

"After discussing the developments with the District Attorney’s Office, no charges will be filed at this time pending further investigation," Dobbs said.

Throughout the police investigation Monday morning, people stood outside the police-tape perimeter hoping they would not learn they knew the victim. 

But their suspicions were confirmed -- Holtz was their co-worker, an employee of the Myst Lounge, they told NBC 7. 

Friends described him as family. 

"A very good guy; kind heart," the man's friend, Shaun Spearman said. "Would take care of anybody, looked out for anybody. He had just a big heart."

Flowers were placed outside the Myst Lounge, which had curtains covering the closed door Monday afternoon. 

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