San Diego

Testimony Starts in Pretrial for Suspect in Gaslamp Shooting That Killed 1, Wounded 4

Police say Travis Fereydoun Sarreshteh used an untraceable "ghost gun" in a shooting that killed one and injured four in the Gaslamp Quarter last April

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A man accused of opening fire in the Gaslamp Quarter last year, killing a man and injuring four others, appeared in court Monday for a hearing to determine whether he will stand trial on charges that include murder and attempted murder.

Travis Fereydoun Sarreshteh, 33, is accused of fatally shooting 28-year-old parking valet Justice Boldin on April 22, 2021, in front of the Pendry San Diego Hotel where the victim worked.

After allegedly killing Boldin, prosecutors say Sarreshteh then walked north on Fifth Avenue where he encountered a group of people near Island Avenue and started shooting, striking four people.

Sarreshteh was followed by bystanders who tackled him and kept him subdued until officers arrived.

A suspected motive for the shootings has not been disclosed. Police have alleged Sarreshteh used an untraceable "ghost gun" to gun down the victims starting at about 10:30 p.m.

Several of the shooting victims and others who witnessed the gunfire testified on Monday.

Chris Luciano, who was walking his dog that night, said he saw the shooter approach Boldin and open fire without warning. Luciano testified that Boldin had not interacted with the shooter, and was leaning over his valet podium, possibly looking at his cellphone just before the gunfire.

The gunman fired a few shots, started to walk away, then turned back and fired more gunshots at the victim, he said, before walking away on Fifth Avenue "casually ... like nothing even happened."

About a block away, Sarreshteh allegedly encountered a group of four friends who had just flown in from the East Coast for a vacation in San Diego.

The men testified Monday that as Sarreshteh approached them on a busy sidewalk, he said something to the effect of, "Get out of the way."

The group then parted to let him through and after he passed them, the men separately testified that he said, "What are you laughing at?" or "Are you laughing at me?"

The shooter then opened fire, striking three of the men. Vincent Gazzani was shot in the back and arm, while Jatil Kodati and Alexander Balis suffered gunshot wounds to their arms.

The shooter then continued walking on Fifth Avenue, with several witnesses describing his demeanor as calm and casual.

Kodati testified that "everyone else" in the street was running when the shots rang out, while the shooter walked away "like it was just another day."

Shai Gino, a former soldier in the Israel Defense Forces who provided first aid to the shooting victims, said the gunman was "the calmest I could ever imagine" as he was walking away from the shooting scene.

Steven Ely, 68, was not with the group, but suffered a gunshot to his abdomen. Ely, a retired schoolteacher, testified that he was walking to a bar to watch his son perform with his band when he was struck.

Ely testified that the bullet went through his pancreas and lodged near his spine, where it remains to this day.

The preliminary hearing is expected to conclude on Tuesday.

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