San Diego police are searching for a suspect involved in a fatal shooting that happened Tuesday evening outside a National City restaurant during a World Cup party.
According to the National City Police Department (NCPD), a 36-year-old man was critically shot several times on a sidewalk at around 5:40 p.m. The victim was taken to UCSD Medical Center where he died from his wounds. His name was not immediately released.
The shooting followed an argument that happened inside the restaurant Rincon Del Mar on 324 Highland Avenue. The fight spilled into the street, where shots were fired, police said. The restaurant was hosting a World Cup after-game celebration at the time, where a large crowd had gathered.
Investigators aren’t yet clear on what led to the dispute. There were between 20 and 30 witnesses.
Officers closed streets in the area and detoured traffic after the shooting. A search for the suspect or suspects was launched.
As of Wednesday morning, the suspect or suspects responsible for the deadly shooting remained outstanding.
The NCPD said the investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information should contact the NCPD Communications Center at (619) 336-4411, ext. 0.
The shooting was frightening for those attending the World Cup party as a night of fun was marred by violence.
Witness Raudel Salazar heard the fight and gunshots that led to the death of the victim.
“I just heard fighting and screaming. Then, next thing you know the three gunshots. The guy was on the ground full of blood,” Salazar told NBC 7.
The Rincon Del Mar restaurant addressed the incident on its Facebook page Tuesday night, posting: "We are glad everyone inside is OK and we are in disbelief just like all of you."
Following the shooting, yellow placards marked the spot where bloody clothes and shell casings littered the scene of the violent crime. A blood-soaked blouse laid at the scene, too, evidence of someone who tried to help the victim.
For some Highland Avenue residents, the sounds of sirens and violence are an all too common occurrence.
Resident Osvaldo Partido said he knows of another recent killing in the area, the deadly stabbing of a man at a nearby liquor store.
With the National City community dealing with another murder case, a segment of the population has become somewhat numb to the violence.
“It’s just life, you know. You can’t do nothing about it,” added Partido.
The manager of Rincon Del Mar spoke with NBC 7 on Wednesday morning and said the restaurant would remain closed for the day out of respect for the victim. The manager said the victim was a longtime patron who visited the restaurant several times a week.
NBC 7 spoke with family members who identified the shooting victim as Josue Crook. A family friend said Crook was loved by many and a "devout church man who touched many lives."
The family friend said Crook was watching the World Cup game with friends and was at the wrong place, at the wrong time. The family is in the process of setting up a memorial fund for Crook.
Officials have yet to formally identify the victim.