San Diego

2 Suspects Arrested in Fatal Downtown Stabbing of Camp Pendleton Marine

Ryan Evan Harris, 21, was a native of Northern California and a U.S. Marine assigned to Camp Pendleton in San Diego County

Two suspects were arrested late Saturday in connection with a fatal stabbing of a Camp Pendleton-based U.S. Marine during a fight in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, police said.

Jose Oscar Esqueda, 30, and Jeff Shai Holliday, 24, both of San Diego, were taken into custody at about 11 p.m. Saturday, San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Lt. Todd Griffin said Sunday. 

Both were suspected to be involved in the stabbing of 21-year-old Ryan Evan Harris, a Northern California native assigned to Camp Pendleton in San Diego County. Military officials said Harris was assigned to the 1st Marine Logistics Group.

Early Friday morning, Harris was stabbed in a fight in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, near Island and Fifth avenues, an area known for its nightlife. When police officers arrived, they found the Marine on the sidewalk, suffering from stab wounds to his upper body.

The officer and bystanders tried to help him while paramedics arrived. Despite those efforts, Harris died at the scene.

Investigators said one other person was wounded in the Gaslamp Quarter fight: a man found with stab wounds on J Street and 5th Avenue, about a block away from where Harris was found. The SDPD said that man was involved in the altercation.

The second victim remains in the hospital. His wounds were considered serious but not life-threatening. 

“His grandpa said that he was the all-American kid, and I do believe that because you know he was everybody's friend and played baseball and he loved sports,” Harris’ widow Amber Harris told NBC 7. “It’s just not going to be the same without him.” The couple had only been married for a few months when he was killed.

SDPD Homicide Lt. Todd Griffin said the stabbing victims were in the Gaslamp as part of a group of military personnel, but the victim who survived is a civilian.

Esqueda and Holliday were both booked into San Diego County Jail. Esqueda faces charges of murder, attempted murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Holliday faces charges of murder, assault with a deadly weapon, battery and a probation violation.

It was not clear if the suspects and the victims knew each other or why the fight broke out in the first place. 

SDPD asked Sunday for the good Samaritans who assisted officers with aid on Harris to come forward.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with details on this case can reach out to the SDPD’s Homicide Unit (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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