Police Don’t Believe Race Was A Factor In San Diego Shooting But Survivors Do
Survivors of the incident believe differently though. Navy Lt. j.g. Lauren Chapman attended the party and claims gunman Peter Selis avoided shooting at least one white woman.
According to DailyMail reports Chapman says she spoke with the woman later and claims she says Selis told her. “You can either leave or you can stay here and die.”
At the time, the woman had been trying to help Monique Clark, the black mother of three who was shot by Selis and later died from her injuries.
Chapman also says there were two white women sitting much closer to Selis than the people who he shot, who also escaped the party unharmed.
Chapman added that the white woman who was shot was sitting at a table surrounded by black people.
‘I’m a realistic person and we need to acknowledge race was a factor,’ said Chapman, who is black.
‘Maybe it wasn’t everything, but it was definitely something. We need to get that dialogue open. Yes, he was bankrupt. Yes, he had relationship issues, but I think we need to acknowledge the possibility of bias.’
Another witness, Mychael Gary, who is also black, agreed that Selis did not pick his victims at random.
‘I believe the group that he was going after was targeted, that’s what I believe,’ Gary told The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Assistant Chief Brian Ahearn said investigators have interviewed party guests and family members, associates and the ex-girlfriend of gunman Peter Selis. Police searched Selis’ apartment, social media accounts and email and determined the shooting was motivated by his distress over a recent breakup. Wednesday police said they still have no evidence to support Selis’ crime was race based.
‘He made no statements, gestures, and showed no behavior toward the group that were racially tinged that would then classify this as a hate crime,’ Ahearn said. ‘I’m not suggesting that maybe that didn’t happen but we have zero information suggesting that was the case.’
Ahearn confirmed that Selis told a white woman to leave the area and added that he told a black woman helping another victim that she could not move the person to safety but he would not shoot her if she stayed put. She did not move and was not shot.
Selis shot seven people, five of his victims were black, one was white and one was Latino.
Besides his breakup, it’s been speculated that financial issues might have driven Selis to strike out. Selis had filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and again in 2015.