Kevin Burton graduated earlier this month from Grossmont High School in El Cajon and planned to play football this fall at San Diego Mesa College.
But the 18-year-old’s life was cut short last weekend when he was shot as he and friends drove away from a house party in the College Area. Shortly after the shooting, police said Burton was hospitalized and in grave condition.
On Friday, police confirmed he died.
According to police, Burton attended the party late last Friday night into early Saturday morning at a home on Art Street just off El Cajon Boulevard. Burton left in a vehicle with friends, and as they were turning onto El Cajon Boulevard, a bullet pierced the vehicle and struck him.
A second bullet struck an apartment complex window on the south side of El Cajon Boulevard, but no one in the complex was injured, police said.
Burton’s friends drove him to a hospital, arriving around 1:45 a.m., according to police homicide Lt. Jud Campbell. Around that same time, as police were learning about the gunshot victim who’d arrived at a hospital, officers in the College Area were responding to El Cajon Boulevard and Art Street, where multiple 911 callers reported hearing gunshots.
Investigators learned later that was the location where Burton was shot, Campbell said.
“Detectives are still working to determine if there was some sort of altercation or incident at the party prior to the shooting,” the lieutenant said in a news release Friday.
Residents on Art Street said they heard loud music and saw large crowds at the house party, and at least one person called police about the party hours before the shooting. Another reported hearing gunfire about 90 minutes before the deadly shot was fired.
Resident Francisco Silva said he heard four or five gunshots close to midnight. Gunfire is common, he said, and the party continued, so he didn’t pay much attention to it.
But then around 1:35 a.m., he heard another set of gunshots, this time four rounds, Silva said.
“And then the party just died,” he said. “At that point I knew something was wrong.”
Silva said he called 911 and reported the shooting.
He and other residents said they’ve called police to report noise and out-of-control house parties on their block in the past.Neighbors said the home where the party was held is one of several on that block that host parties frequently.
San Diego State University officials said the campus police department “is learning more about the off-campus incident,” but noted the San Diego Police Department is the lead investigating agency. “At this time, we do not have any additional information,” a campus spokesperson wrote in an email.
“Our Olympian football family is deeply saddened by this tragic event and we ask for prayers for both Kevin and his family,” the team wrote on a graphic that was tweeted Monday.
According to a GoFundMe campaign for the victim’s family, Burton also planned to run track at Mesa College and worked at SeaWorld San Diego.
San Diego police said Friday there was “no suspect information to be released at this time.”
Department officials noted there were many partygoers in the area at the time of the shooting that left before officers arrived, and investigators would like to speak with those people. Anyone with information about the shooting was asked to call the San Diego police homicide unit at (619) 531-2293 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers’ anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477.