New Year's Shooting At Calif. Condo Leaves 4 Dead

Published January 2, 2012 2:00AM (EST)

CORONADO, Calif. (AP) — An early morning New Year's shooting left four people dead at a condominium near San Diego, authorities said Sunday.

Police responded to a 911 cellphone call of shots fired in Coronado, a wealthy seaside suburb of about 24,000 people on San Diego Bay. Officers found a man in the doorway of the condo. The bodies of two men and a woman were discovered inside the condo.

San Diego County sheriff's Lt. Larry Nesbit said homicide investigators have not determined how any of the four died, though Coronado police officers who were first to arrive believe the man found in the doorway was shot.

"They checked and he had no obvious signs of life. They tried to make contact with anyone else that might be inside the building and they got no response," Nesbit said.

A SWAT team sent in a robot to the first floor and later searched the second and third floors, Nesbit said. The three dead bodies were found in "different parts" of the three-story building.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service was on scene, "in case any of the victims were members of the military," Nesbit said. NCIS spokesman Ed Buice said its investigators were participating in the probe, which was being led by the Sheriff's Department.

The victims' identities hadn't been confirmed.

Asked if the deaths are believed to be a murder-suicide, Nesbit said, "I'll let it infer what it does. We're not going to say that. Although it's very early in the investigation, we don't believe there are any outstanding suspects."

Nesbit said the 911 was placed by a male passer-by who heard gunshots. Authorities received a search warrant Sunday afternoon to enter the three-story condo, which remained cordoned off.

Neighbor Julie Kansy said was awoken at 2:15 am by six pops — three, followed by a short break, then three more.

"At first I thought it's too late for fireworks," she said. "Then I thought it was somebody being stupid and firing shots in the air."

The condo sits a few blocks from the famed Hotel del Coronado and a block from the main street, which is lined with boutiques and restaurants. Curious passers-by asked police what the commotion was about and expressed shock and surprise.

Coronado is home to Naval Air Station North Island and is a haven for Navy retirees. Homicides are extremely rare in Coronado — just one was recorded in 2010.

By Salon Staff

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