One person died overnight after shots were fired inside a Dave & Buster’s arcade restaurant in San Diego’s Mission Valley area as witnesses scrambled to safety, police confirmed.
The shooting was reported just before 11 p.m. at the restaurant at 2931 Camino Del Rio North, near Interstate 8. San Diego Police Department Lt. Andra Brown said several people called the SDPD’s Communications Center to report the gunfire.
When SDPD and California Highway Patrol officers got there, Brown said they could see many people running away from the restaurant.
When they went into the dining area, they found one man on the ground, wounded. He had been shot on his upper body, Brown said. At around 12:30 a.m., SDPD Sgt. Clint Leisz confirmed the man had died at a local hospital.
The shooting had turned into a homicide investigation.
No one else was hurt.
As of 4:30 a.m. Friday, police tape still surrounded the business and investigators remained at the scene collecting evidence. A car riddled with bullets sat in the parking lot.
Brown said little was known about the man’s death; his name was not released by police, but Brown said he was 28 years old.
As of 7:30 a.m., there had been no arrests in the deadly shooting.
The lieutenant said witnesses reported a dark-colored SUV taking off from the parking lot following the gunfire.
Brown said it’s still early in the investigation and police know there were a lot of witnesses. Anyone with information on this case can reach out to the SDPD’s Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.
No further details were released by police Friday morning. Check back for updates on this developing story.
Witnesses, Shocked: 'Are We Going to Die?'
Witness Alyssa and her boyfriend, Danielo, had walked into Dave & Buster’s just seconds before the shooting. The couple was about 10 feet from the entrance when they heard what Alyssa described as “a champagne bottle that fell off a tray.”
“We hear two more shots and glass shattered,” she told NBC 7.
Danielo said it sounded like "metal slamming on the floor."
“We turned around and ‘Pop! Pop!’ Those were gunshots,” he said.
That’s when Alyssa said she scrambled and slipped, and her purse went flying. Her boyfriend grabbed her and pulled her to safety around a counter. They took cover with some employees.
Alyssa told NBC 7 she knew something terrible was happening. Danielo was shielding her.
“How he threw himself over me; I knew it was serious,” she recalled, holding back tears. “He was covering me and trying to see what was going on at the same time.”
“That’s when I saw someone with a gun,” Danielo said. “He was leaning against a wall. He wasn’t looking at us, but he was looking around the corner with a gun in his hand -- maybe 5 feet away from us. We had to move to the other side of the counter.”
Alyssa said a rush of thoughts went through her mind.
“’What is going on? Is this really happening?’” she said she thought. “’Am I going to marry the love of my life? Is this the end for him and I? Are we going to die?’ That was going through my mind in a very, very small span of time.”
Alyssa said a nearby security guard helped two other people while Danielo covered her with his body. She said it felt like about 15 seconds passed – and three to four shots were heard – with at least two bullets fired through the window.
“It was just a lot; very scary,” she added. "It's very fresh."
Danielo said he realized, while behind the counter, that he and his girlfriend were too close to the front door so they squeezed into a safer nook with a couple of employees.
The commotion near the entrance continued.
"There were a couple people running out (of the restaurant)," he recalled.
Danielo said there may have been someone shooting into the restaurant and then someone inside returning fire.
SDPD has not confirmed those details.
Danielo told NBC 7 he didn't think twice about throwing himself over his girlfriend.
“That’s my boo, that’s my baby. It’s love,” he said.
He said they were in shock following the shooting but hadn't had time to fully process their feelings. That would likely come later, at home, he said.
"I'm sure when I get home, 'Like, woah, babe, we were literally in the middle of the crossfire,'" Danielo added.
The couple said that although being that close to the shooting was frightening, this won't discourage them from going to public places.
"You know, wrong place, wrong time," Danielo said. "I'm not scared."
Another witness told NBC 7 and Telemundo 20 that she was at the arcade restaurant with her family celebrating her son’s 10th birthday when the shooting happened. She said she heard two gunshots.
“It happened so fast,” the woman added.