Police ID Victim in Apparent Downtown Road-Rage Killing; Suspect Description Released

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The victim of a deadly road rage incident this weekend in San Diego was a tourist from Illinois, San Diego police revealed Tuesday.

The 33-year-old man, Yacoub Abdallah of Midlothian, Illinois, was driving a black rental car in the Gaslamp Quarter when he had some sort of traffic incident involving another vehicle.

“It wasn’t a collision,” said San Diego police homicide Lt. Andra Brown, who added that the victim’s girlfriend told detectives what happened after the incident. 

During the investigation, officers determined the incident originally started a couple of blocks away over a traffic dispute. NBC 7's Omari Fleming has more.

The two drivers were stopped at the light at 3rd Avenue and Market Street when the suspect got out of his car and began punching Abdallah as he sat in the driver’s seat. Abdallah got out, and the two fought, then they got back in their respective cars and took off in different directions.

Abdallah didn’t realize how badly injured until he passed out near the intersection of First Avenue and Broadway, several blocks away, crashing into a pole, a tree and a utility box.

Efforts to save the man’s life were unsuccessful.  His girlfriend and a 14-year-old girl in the car with them both sustained minor injuries in the crash.

Initially, police reported they were looking for a red car, which they believed was the suspect vehicle, but investigators now believe the driver of that car was a witness who may have recorded the incident on his cell phone.

Instead, police say the suspect was driving a silver four-door sedan similar to a Honda Civic. He’s described as a light-skinned Hispanic or Asian man with a stocky build between 25-40 who was wearing shorts and a T-shirt that hung to his knees.

Anybody with information about the incident is being urged to contact San Diego police at (619) 531-2293. Tips can be called in anonymously to Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

The apparent road-rage incident was just one of three in the San Diego area in the past four days. In one, a driver had two bullets fired into his car as he drove on the I-15 as it transitioned to state Route 56 on Friday. The man was shaken up but not injured.  The CHP is still looking for the gunman, who sped off in a silver or gray van.

After learning about the incidents, some local drivers told NBC7 they’ve noticed a lot of angry, impatient people on the roads lately.

“People are just so short-tempered now,” said Valerie Hoffman, who lives in North Park. “ I mean, really, to shoot somebody because of some stupid thing that happened out on the road? Seriously, that’s terrible and frightening.”

Tashi Shertso is retired, so she doesn’t drive that much, but she told us there’s a lot of anger and frustration post-pandemic. 

“The socialization skills haven’t kicked back in yet," Shertso said. "We’re still getting used to being able to go out of the house without masks and socializing.  Hopefully, all those good manners will start coming back.”

Bella Vang said people need to realize that the road belongs to everyone. She tries to be patient with other drivers by getting out of the way when they become aggressive. 

“We just have to be aware of our surroundings whenever we go anywhere now," Vang said. "It’s kind of unfortunate.”

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