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Chula Vista police seek ‘person of interest’ in August shootings near Harborside Park

Police on Wednesday asked for help from the public to identify someone considered a “person of interest” in the investigation of a pair of shootings two months ago near Harborside Park.

Chula Vista police released this photograph Wednesday, saying it showed a person of interest in a pair of Aug. 26 shootings at and near Harborside Park.

(Chula Vista Police Department)

Chula Vista police provided a photograph of the person, believed to be a teen boy or young man, but did not say he was a suspect in the shootings.

In a news release, police Sgt. Anthony Molina said investigators “would like to speak with him” and asked anyone who recognized him to contact San Diego County Crime Stoppers.

The shootings being investigated occurred Aug. 26 and left two homeless men wounded, according to Molina. The violence occurred at or near Harborside Park, on Oxford Street, two days after the City Council voted to close the troubled park to address homelessness and alleged criminal issues.

San Diego police said those attacks near the Chula Vista park were related to an early morning shooting spree in nearby Otay Mesa that left two other people injured. All four victims appeared to be strangers to the suspects, according to Chula Vista and San Diego police.

San Diego police officers arrested three suspects — a 16-year-old boy and two 15-year-old boys — on the day of the alleged crime spree, but said a few days later that at least one more suspect remained at large.

A Chula Vista police spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions Wednesday night about whether the person of interest being sought for questioning may also be connected in some way to the incidents in San Diego.

According to police, the alleged crime spree began around 4 a.m. on a Friday morning at an apartment complex in the Otay Mesa area, when a gunshot from an upstairs apartment pierced the ceiling of a downstairs unit and grazed the victim’s shin.

Shortly afterward, on nearby Dennery Road, a car was struck by gunfire, and a woman in the car was injured when a bullet grazed her cheek. The woman’s boyfriend drove her to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, and footage from OnScene TV showed the sedan outside the emergency room with two bullet holes in the windshield and another in the hood.

San Diego police were investigating after a bullet grazed a woman's cheek in a car headed down an Otay Mesa-area street.

San Diego police investigated a predawn shooting Aug. 26 after a bullet grazed a woman’s cheek inside a car headed down a street in the Otay Mesa area. Police suspect the shooting was part of a crime spree that injured at least four people.

(OnScene TV)

The shootings at the Chula Vista park were reported a little before 7 a.m. and about five minutes apart. A 26-year-old man was shot in his leg.

A 911 caller told police the injured man had been surrounded by four to six juveniles during the attack. The caller said the juveniles ran toward a nearby trolley station on Palomar Street.

Another 911 caller reported the second victim, a 33-year-old man, had been shot and possibly stabbed in front of a business on Palomar Street.

A short time later, San Diego police arrested the three teen boys at a trolley station in downtown San Diego’s East Village neighborhood, where police say they robbed someone. Investigators suspect the three were tied to the earlier shootings and recovered a gun and knife.

Anyone who recognizes the person of interest or has other information about the shootings can contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at (888) 580-8477 or online at sdcrimestoppers.org.

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