Despite the assertion of police that a deadly San Diego pool party shooting was not racially motivated, witnesses of the Sunday attack say an “implicit bias” motivated the shooter.
Peter Selis, 49, opened fire on a crowd at a birthday party at the La Jolla Crossroads complex at around 6 p.m., killing Monique Clark and injuring six others, police said. Officials have said that Selis was angry over a recent breakup and targeted the victims “for no other reason than their mere presence.”
However, some witnesses of the attack believe the crime was motivated by race.
“At no point in time did it cross my mind that we weren’t targeted because of the group that we are,” Lauren Chapman, who attended the party, told NBC San Diego. “There were multiple people within that pool. Probably closer to him than us were two women sun-tanning outside. They were as easy of a target as we were. Two [white] women to his left.”
Selis, a white man, was fatally shot by police.
Although officials initially said the victims were all Black or Latino, investigators later stated that at least one of the injured is a white woman, CNN reports.
Chapman told the station that a white woman rushed to help Clark after Selis opened fire, but the gunman warned her to not administer aid to the mom of three.
“I think that we have to acknowledge that there is implicit bias,” Chapman said.
At a Monday news conference, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said Selis was “distraught” and “depressed” over a recent breakup when he carried out the shooting.
“[Selis] entered the pool area and laid on a lounge chair, called his ex-girlfriend and told his ex-girlfriend that he had just shot two people,” Zimmerman said. “[He] talked to his girlfriend as he continued to fire [his] weapon.”
Two of the victims were in critical but stable condition on Monday, Zimmerman said. All are expected to survive.
A GoFundMe page has been created to cover funeral costs for Clark.