Suspected gunman arrested in shooting near Belmont Park
Witnesses said the gunfire caused panic among visitors at the Mission Beach amusement park
A suspected gunman was arrested Sunday after a street fight between several men led to a shooting near Belmont Park in Mission Beach, San Diego police said.
While no victims were struck by the gunfire, witnesses described a chaotic scene as visitors at the amusement park on Mission Boulevard panicked and ran for cover.
“We’re thankful nobody was hit or injured,” police Capt. Scott Wahl said Monday.
The gunfire was reported about 7:30 p.m. — about an hour and a half before the rides and attractions were scheduled to close. Several 911 callers reported hearing several gunshots and seeing a gunman running near the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, according to police radio traffic.
Wahl said two groups of men had gotten into an altercation, which escalated into a street fight on Ventura Place near Mission Boulevard. The men eventually split up. One group of four men was in a nearby parking lot near the rollercoaster when two of the other men drove into the parking lot at high speed.
That’s when someone in the group of four men opened fire on the vehicle, causing the two other men to drive off, Wahl said.
The group of four men then ran away, and at least one of them was seen jumping into a vehicle in a parking lot just south of Belmont Park.
Police swarmed the area just in time to stop the vehicle. During the traffic stop, a passenger ran off toward the amusement park, where security personnel tackled him, at which point a ghost gun the man had been carrying fell to the ground, Wahl said.
The 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of shooting an an occupied vehicle and being a felon in possession of a gun, among other firearm-related allegations.
Wahl said the investigation was ongoing Monday.
“We’re still trying to piece together exactly what went on, how many shots were fired and who fired all those shots,” Wahl said.
Witness Reyna Abarca said she and her family were walking toward the amusement park — they were near a parking lot, not far from the rollercoaster — when she heard six gunshots. She first thought they were fireworks, she said.
Security personnel instructed visitors to clear the site immediately, Abarca said.
5:51 p.m. April 4, 2022: This story was updated with additional information.
9:56 a.m. April 4, 2022: This story was updated with additional information.