San Diego

Suspect Opens Fire Into Hillcrest Restaurant, ‘Calmly Walks Away'

Close to 20 shots were fired from the street into the Golden Dragon Asian Bistro in Hillcrest while employees and customers were inside, police confirmed. 

Stefano Markell Parker, 29, was wearing a trench coat when he walked up the Asian bistro at 414 University Avenue near Fourth Avenue at about 7:40 p.m. and opened fire into the restaurant, the San Diego Police Department said.

After firing nearly two dozen rounds, he "lowered the rifle and calmly walked away," SDPD Officer John Buttle said. 

"The shots were so close together," said Michael Hertado, who was at his home across the street with his two daughters when gunfire erupted. "Long rifle shots, 'Bam, bam, bam!"

Miraculously, none of the several people inside the restaurant at the time were struck by gunfire, SDPD's Andra Brown said.

"It’s quite a blessing that with that much – with that hail of gunfire that went out – that nobody was hit,” she told NBC 7.

One person described hiding in the bathroom with customers of a pizzeria across the street after hearing gunfire ring out.

"We were all in fear. We were really scared. It was definitely a terrifying time." said Ty Loveless, shift leader for East Coast Pizza. 

SDPD said they found 19.566 calibur weapon casings outside of the restaurant, which was riddled with bullet holes.

A witness described the shooter to police, saying the man began taking off his clothes as he left the scene, Buttle said. One said the shooter was firing his weapon while running down University Avenue. 

A trail of evidence, including clothes that matched the witness description and the "assault-style" rifle, were found discarded in a nearby alley. 

Brown said the evidence led them to Parker as a person of interest. He was questioned for hours before being declared a suspect. 

Parker faces 9 counts of attempted murder, felony use of a firearm and felon in possession of a firearm. 

The owner of the restaurant told NBC 7 he doesn't recognize the man who was detained. Police still do not know a motive.

No other information was available.

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