Shootings and gun fights
Shootings and Gun Fights are just part of the general crime statistics.
Do Armed Civilians Stop Mass Shooters? Actually, No. Five cases commonly cited as a rationale for arming Americans don't stand up to scrutiny. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/armed-civilians-do-not-stop-mass-shootings
The Geography of U.S. Gun Violence http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2012/12/geography-us-gun-violence/4171/
Shots fired and gun fights
Crime statistics are reportedly going down. But crime, like these shootings seems to be closer to me now. Drivers are more aggressive on the freeway. People are fighting for this or fighting for that.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012, 6:57pm 3 shots, spaced out off to the north east not too far away, 6:59pm another shot; 7:02pm another shot.
Sunday, January 16, 2011, 6:30pm a blast or explosion, off to the west. There was one earlier about 5:00pm
Sunday, April 25, 2010, 8:00pm: one shot, off to the south west.
Sunday, April 11, 2010: one shot, a pause, then three more. pistol, off to the west, not far away. 1:00pm
Friday, January 29, 2010: three - four shots, very fast; 8:53pm
Friday, December 25, 2009: five shots, one, then two close together, the a moment later, two more close together. 9:00pm
Wednesday, December 23, 2009: two rapid shots off to the south west, 9:00pm
Saturday, December 19, 2009, about 9:00pm the chopper was circling to the south west then it left, then came the sound of distant gunfire.
Friday, October 9, 2009, 9:05pm, one shot, off to the south west, one more at 9:10
Friday, August 14, 2009, 8:45pm, two shots, one right after the other, up towards Greenfield and Third.
Tuesday, August 04. 2009, 9:20pm three shots, spaced out, over toward 2nd or fireworks.
Saturday, January 31, 2009, just after 11:00pm. eight shots, evenly spaced out, hand gun. to the north
Wednesday, Christmas Eve, December 24, 2008 6:00pm. one shot, off to the south, sounded like a rifle
Saturday, November 15, 2008 8:50, three shots, off to the south, then a minute later three more.
Saturday, November 01, 2008 9:45, one shot.
Friday, October 31, 2008, I have been hearing shots the las couple of weeks. 8:00pm, just heard a couple of short bursts fired off.
While working in my garage I heard gun shots. two or three. three to four blocks away. about 6:30pm.
A man on a small-cylinder motorbike who tried to outrun deputies and a helicopter Friday night was arrested shortly afterward after he ditched the vehicle and hid in a truck, sheriff’s officials said. Robert Fitzherbert, 27, of El Cajon, was arrested at 8:18 p.m. in the parking lot of an apartment complex on No. 3rd Street near Peach Avenue. He had been hiding in the cab of a black Ford F-150 with a white camper shell, said sheriff’s Sgt. Kurt Goldberg. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jan/07/copter-deputies-prevail-motorbike-chase/
Friday, January 07, 2011: 8:10pm. Police activity over on Broadway, lots of sirens then th police copter circling low and then using the loudspeaker to call someone out from a car or risk severe injury from the K-9 unit. quite now 8:20pm.
Saturday, July 04, 2009 sirens all over, mostly to the north. started about 11:20am with a fire truck or rescue headed north on third. UPDATE El Cajon brush fire contained. Firefighters are mopping up hot spots on a 1½ acre brush fire in El Cajon. The blaze was reported about 11:15 a.m. near a home and contained about 45 minutes later. No structures were damaged. The cause of the fire is unknown.
Sunday, December 07, 2008, 1:30pm. There were 4 police out on the street, three police cars. Three young me were being detained in front of a house a couple of hoses up on the other side of the street.
Officers responding to a call about a shooting found a man suffering a wound to the abdomen. Police were called to the North Mollison Avenue near East Madison Avenue shooting scene at 8:40 p.m., El Cajon police said. The victim was in a group who were seen running from the area. Officers caught up with them and found the man who had been injured. He was taken to a hospital where he was treated and is expected to be released today. The shooter was described only as Latino, of medium height and weight wearing a black, hooded sweat shirt. No further details have been released. Earlier on Monday on East Madison Avenue not far away from where the wounded man was found, a pedestrian was shot at several times by someone driving by in a green Jeep Cherokee. That man was not hit and no property damage was reported. Anyone with information is asked to call El Cajon police at (619) 579-3311. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/may/18/el-cajon-police-find-man-shot-stomach/
A man who allegedly fired shots at two people who came to take a boat stored on his property was in custody on Saturday after surrendering to police, an El Cajon police lieutenant said. Orvin Braaten, 49, fired at the victims shortly before 8 p.m. Friday at 1621 Blackthorne Court, a one-block long street adjacent to the east end of Harry Griffen Park, Lt. J.D. Arvan said. "It was over a civil matter, ownership of a boat," Arvan said. According to Arvan, two men came to take the boat away, but the resident of the house claimed he was owed money for storage. He fired at least one shot, possibly two, but neither man was hit, Arvan said. "We found evidence of a shooting," Arvan said, without specifying what was discovered. The gunman ran back into the house when officers arrived and refused to answer telephone calls, but surrendered around 9:45 p.m. after police spoke at him through a patrol car's public address system, Arvan said. Telephone calls were made to residents to tell them to stay inside, and no evacuations were ordered, Arvan said. http://www.10news.com/news/23566498/detail.html
A 23-year-old El Cajon man, who threatened to shoot some neighbors in his apartment complex and holed up in his unit for about two hours, was behind bars Friday, a police lieutenant said. Brett Stephen Rose, a probationer, was arrested by members of a police SWAT team after a roughly two-hour standoff, El Cajon police Lt. Jeff Arvan said. A shotgun was found in the apartment, and Rose was expected to be booked for making a felony threat, he said. A neighbor called 911 about 5:15 p.m. Thursday and told police Rose had just threatened to shoot fellow tenants at 1038 Peach Ave., Arvan said. Rose initially refused to come out of his apartment, precipitating the standoff, he said, adding that Rose surrendered to a crisis negotiation team. No information was made available as to why Rose was on probation. http://www.10news.com/news/23551225/detail.html
Apparent murder-suicide baffles neighbors, police. Police and neighbors were trying to figure out yesterday what prompted a man to apparently kill his girlfriend and then himself in their El Cajon apartment while the woman's teenage daughter slept on a living room sofa. “They had a big Christmas tree, and every time I saw them they were bringing in presents,” said neighbor AnaMarie Ciaramitaro, 19. “They were so sweet.” Police haven't identified the 58-year-old man or 33-year-old woman. Neighbors said they moved into the Hunter's Run apartment complex on Broadway about a month ago with the woman's three children. The two youngest were with relatives the night of the apparent murder-suicide. http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/jan/02/1m2twodead23280-apparent-murder-suicide-baffles-ne/?uniontrib
National City police take aim at holiday gunfire. Hotline set up; officers to patrol trouble spots. Every New Year's Eve, some San Diego County residents like to celebrate by firing guns into the air, a tradition that poses a danger to others. Although errant bullets are less of a problem than in years past, a few police departments in the region still are working to curb gunfire that often starts by 10 or 11 p.m. and continues past midnight. It appears National City police will be the most active when it comes to watching for revelers firing guns in the air Wednesday night. http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2008/dec/28/1m28noguns222542-national-city-police-take-aim-hol/?uniontrib
Woman held in Oklahoma in El Cajon murder
October 28, 2007 SAN DIEGO – A 38-year-old woman accused of murdering an elderly man near El Cajon was captured Sunday in Oklahoma, authorities said.
Rhonda Elaine Hill was arrested early Sunday morning at a family member's home in Ketchum, Okla., by U.S. Marshall's deputies, according to a San Diego County Sheriff's spokesperson.
Hill is accused of shooting to death an 82-year-old man at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday in the 1300 block of Pepper Drive, just north of El Cajon.
According to police reports, eyewitnesses identified her as the woman seen running from the scene at the time of shooting. Her relationship to the man was unclear, deputies said.
She is currently being held in the Delaware County Jail in Jay, Okla., the spokesperson said.
Local sheriff's deputies are in route to pick-up Hill and bring her back to San Diego.
Navy IDs sailor killed in San Diego shooting
July 25, 2007 SAN DIEGO — The Navy identified a sailor shot and killed during an off-duty robbery near San Diego over the weekend as Gunner’s Mate 1st Class David C. Busby II, officials said.
Busby, 34, was working as a private security guard at a Kmart store in Ramona, Calif., when he tried to thwart an alleged shoplifter and was shot and killed by the assailant about 2:40 p.m. Saturday, according to local officials.
Several shoppers chased the alleged assailant and held him until deputies arrived and took him into custody, according to the San Diego County sheriff’s department. The man arrested, Andrew N. Griffith, 28, is slated to appear in court on Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s department.
Busby was a member of the precommissioning crew Independence, the second in the new class of Littoral Combat Ships destined to be homeported in San Diego.
“This is a tremendous loss for his family, for his fellow shipmates, and for the Navy,” said Lt. Cmdr. Heidi Lenzini, a spokeswoman at Naval Surface Forces in Coronado, Calif. “We have lost a great sailor.”
Slaying of new father, 23, devastates Jamul family
December 06, 2006 JAMUL – Charles “Chuck” Crow was a new father working to buy a home when he was shot and killed in a bizarre attack by a gunman wearing camouflage who also wounded another man.
- The father of a baby boy, Charles "Chuck" Crow, 23, loved riding his off-road vehicle in the desert on weekends. He was fatally shot Friday night outside Jamul.
The 23-year-old construction worker had been laboring long hours trying to save money to buy a house for his young family.
“And now he's gone,” said Rose Moran, 22, the mother of their 5-month-old son, Evan.
Crow's mother called her son's slaying senseless.
“I just don't understand why somebody would fire an assault rifle on a car full of innocent young men who were just driving by,” Teri Crow said yesterday.
“Why would somebody do this?”
Sheriff's detectives have yet to establish a motive for the shooting, which occurred about 8:30 p.m. Friday near Skyline Truck Trail and Wisecarver Truck Trail northeast of Jamul.
Charles Crow and two friends were driving on Wisecarver Truck Trail near his home when they passed a white Ford pickup that was parked on the side of the road.
A short time later they turned around and were driving back toward Skyline Truck Trail when they again came upon the pickup. This time a man stepped out, went to the center of the road and fired several shots at them with a high-powered rifle. Crow, who was a passenger, was killed and another passenger was wounded but not seriously.
Authorities are searching for the shooter, described as an unshaven white man with gray hair. He was wearing a green camouflage jacket, pants and a floppy brimmed hat.
Sheriff's Lt. Dennis Brugos said yesterday that investigators issued a search warrant on a vehicle that matched the description given by witnesses.
He declined to say whether the vehicle's owner had been found or interviewed, saying he didn't want to jeopardize the investigation.
Crow's family and friends said they want to see his killer brought to justice.
“He had so much to live for. He had so much to offer,” said Katie Castellanos, Charles Crow's cousin.
The youngest of three children, Crow loved fixing cars and riding his off-road vehicle in the Imperial Valley desert on the weekend.
He lived with his family at his parents' home in Jamul but was planning to a buy a house nearby and wanted to help his future wife set up a day-care center there.
This year he began working for a waterproofing company co-owned by a boyhood friend, Ely Leeyer.
“He was stoked to be working for us,” Leeyer said. “He had his own crew. He was doing a good job.
“This was real unfortunate.”
A viewing is scheduled at 10 a.m. Sunday at Glenn Abbey Memorial Park and Mortuary, 3838 Bonita Road, Bonita. Funeral services will follow at 1:30 p.m.
Jamul man acquitted of murder
An El Cajon jury has acquitted a Jamul man of murder and attempted murder charges in the fatal shooting of one man and wounding of another in December 2006 as they fled his rural East County ranch.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict on lesser charges faced by Joseph R. "Bob" Orlosky, 56. Orlosky, heavy-construction contractor, was charged in the fatal shooting of Charles Crow, 23, and the wounding of Hector Monget, 28.
Deputy District Attorney Jeff Dusek told the judge he will retry Orlosky on the lesser charges, which include manslaughter. The judge set a hearing for March 21 to schedule a date for a second trial.
Shop's co-owner, worker were shot execution-style
EL CAJON – The crowd that gathered last night outside the liquor store on Broadway hugged and wept in the candlelight, chanting a Chaldean prayer for two of their own who were killed execution-style Wednesday.
This store is about a mile from my house.
Man gets death penalty in liquor store murders
August 21, 2009
A man who shot and killed two people at an El Cajon liquor store during a 2006 robbery was sentenced to death by Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis today.
Jean Pierre Rices pleaded guilty in October to two counts of first-degree murder and admitted his shot Heather Mattia, 22, the store's co-owner, and clerk Firas Eiso, 23. The killings occurred during a robbery at the Granada Liquor Store on Broadway on March 1, 2006.
Prosecutors have said Heather Mattia and Eiso were locking up for the night and preparing to leave when they were forced back into the store and shot in the head.
A second defendant, Anthony Miller, is scheduled to be retried on murder charges in September. In June, a mistrial was declared when a jury deadlocked on whether Miller was guilty of two counts of murder. Miller has said he was in a car in the store parking lot when the shots were fired.
Jury recommends death penalty for double murderer Rices
June 24, 2009
EL CAJON – A jury decided Wednesday that Jean Pierre Rices should be sentenced to death for the execution-style slayings of two people during a 2006 liquor store robbery in El Cajon.
The El Cajon Superior Court jury had been asked to decide whether Rices should be executed or sent to prison without the possibility of parole in the shooting deaths of Heather Mattia, 22, the store's co-owner, and clerk Firas Eiso, 23.
The jury began deliberating at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday after hearing closing arguments, and by 3:45 p.m. announced that a verdict had been reached.
Rices, 27, sat quietly and had no reaction to the verdict.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 31 at 1:30 p.m.
Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis has the option of following the jury's recommendation, or setting it aside in favor of sentencing Rices to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Judges rarely go against a jury's recommendation in capital cases.
Rices pleaded guilty in October to two counts of first-degree murder and admitted that he shot Mattia and Eiso during a robbery at Granada Liquor Store on Broadway.
Relatives of the victims wept in the gallery as the verdict was read. They declined to comment outside of court.
A co-defendant, Anthony Miller, 23, also was charged in the slayings.
Miller had been charged with two counts of murder. A separate jury deadlocked Monday and a mistrial was declared. Miller's retrial has been scheduled for Sept. 28.
Miller has said he was in a car in the store parking lot when the shots were fired.
Both men were in court at the same time before Lewis, with one jury deciding whether Miller was guilty of murder and another deciding whether Rices should be executed.
Deputy District Attorney Glenn McAllister said outside the courtroom that he was very pleased with the jury's decision.
“The jury did the right thing. He's a very dangerous person. He deserves the death penalty,” McAllister said.
The prosecutor earlier told the jury that Rices' past criminal history justified the death penalty in this case. In addition to the 2006 murders, he said Rices has been convicted in a robbery and a carjacking in 1999, two bank robberies in July 2006, and the slashing of a jail guard's face and torso in August 2008.
Rices' defense attorney, Mark Chambers, said he was disappointed with the panel's decision and didn't think a death penalty was appropriate.
Chambers said a more fitting punishment would have been life in prison without the possibility of parole.
During the trial, Chambers told the jury that Rices' mother was a drug-addicted prostitute who taught him to steal when he was a toddler on the streets of Los Angeles.
Rices became a ward of Los Angeles County, and during the next 13 years, he was placed with two sets of relatives and in half a dozen group homes, the attorney has said.
Mistrial declared for co-defendant in liquor store killings
June 22, 2009
EL CAJON – A jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case of an Alpine man charged with murder in the slaying of two people during a liquor store robbery.
The jury advised Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis on Monday that it was hopelessly deadlocked, and the judge declared a mistrial.
Jurors said they were leaning 11-1 in favor of convicting Anthony Miller, 23, of Alpine. Earlier, they were leaning 8-4 in favor of conviction.
The case will resume with a hearing in August and a new trial date has been set for September, said Dan Mangarin, Miller's defense attorney.
Miller is accused of participating in the robbery of the Granada Liquor Store on March 1, 2006, that ended in the shooting death of co-owner Heather Mattia, 22, and store employee Firas Eiso, 23. Both were found shot in the head about 11:30 p.m. at the store.
Prosecutors have said Mattia and Eiso were closing for the night and preparing to leave when they were forced back into the store and shot.
Co-defendant Jean Pierre Rices pleaded guilty to murder and has admitted shooting the pair. A separate jury has been hearing testimony on whether Rices, 27, of El Cajon, should be executed for the crimes. Testimony is expected to wrap up Thursday.
In the Miller case, Mangarin said the jury began deliberations late Wednesday and by Friday afternoon signaled that they were deadlocked. Judge Lewis asked them to continue deliberating, but when they returned Monday morning, they again indicated that they were unable to reach a verdict.
At least one juror said they struggled with the theory put forth by prosecutor Glenn McAllister that Miller willingly participated in the slayings, said Mangarin, who spoke with some jurors afterward.
The prosecutor did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Miller was unarmed at the time of the robbery, has no criminal history and does not have a violent past, the defense attorney said. At least one juror believed Rices acted on his own without Miller's knowledge, Mangarin said.
“The prosecution's case did not square with character witnesses called by the defense,” Mangarin said in an interview. “A jury of 12 has helped us find some closure in this case.”
If Miller is retried and convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Death penalty sought for shooter in liquor-store murders
June 8, 2009
EL CAJON – Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a 27-year-old El Cajon man who pleaded guilty to killing two people at an El Cajon liquor store in 2006.
Jean Pierre Rices is in court this week after admitting last October that he shot Heather Nabil Mattia, 22, and Firas Washid Eiso, 23, at Granada Liquor Store, which Mattia's family owns.
A co-defendant, Anthony James Miller, is being tried this week for the murders. He claims he was in a car in the store parking lot when the shots were fired. If convicted, Miller could be sentenced to life without parole.
Both men are in court at the same time before El Cajon Superior Court Judge J. Lantz Lewis, with one jury deciding whether Miller is guilty of murder and another deciding whether Rices should be executed.
Lewis decided the two juries should consider evidence from the killings simultaneously because it's more efficient. Because Rices pleaded guilty, no trial is needed. However, a jury must consider evidence from the execution-style killings before deciding whether Rices should be sentenced to death or to life in prison without parole.
Deputy District Attorney Glenn McAllister said Monday that Rices' criminal history justified the death penalty. He said Rices was convicted of robbery and a carjacking in 1999; two bank robberies in July 2006; and the slashing of a jail guard's face and torso with a razor-sharp “shank” in August 2008.
Defense attorney Mark Chambers told the jury that Rices' mother was a drug-addicted prostitute who taught him as a toddler to steal on the streets of Los Angeles. She abandoned him when he was 5 outside a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant, he said, after attracting a crowd by screaming profanities at him as he begged her to let him stay. Rices became a ward of Los Angeles County, and during the next 13 years, he was placed with two sets of relatives and a half-dozen group homes.
“You aren't going to hear excuses: Jean Pierre Rices has pleaded guilty to the murders,” Chambers said. “You're going to hear the issue of remorse ... Jean Pierre Rices was already broken at 5 years old ... (He) has admitted his crimes and has accepted responsibility for his actions. He's going to die in prison. When he dies is what you are going to decide.”
Evidence from the murders will be presented to both juries starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Capital case defendant gets February trial date
EAST COUNTY COURTS: An El Cajon man facing the possibility of a death sentence on murder charges will stand trial in February in connection with a botched bank robbery, a judge ruled yesterday.
Jean Pierre Rices, 26, pleaded not guilty to attempted robbery charges in a July 28, 2006, holdup at a Bank of America branch in El Cajon.
Rices is charged with murder in connection with a March 2006 slaying of a clerk and an owner of Granada Liquor Store in El Cajon. He also is charged with armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the July 2006 robbery of a Washington Mutual bank branch in El Cajon.
El Cajon Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis set a Feb. 23 trial for Rices on all of the cases. The trial had been set for Aug. 11, but Rices' lawyer, Mark Chambers, requested more time to prepare.
The judge ruled that a co-defendant on the liquor store case, James Miller, 21, of Alpine also would be tried Feb. 23.
A second co-defendant in the liquor store slaying, Nichele Delon Hopson, 23, has pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter and agreed to testify against Rices and Miller in exchange for a reduced penalty, Deputy District Attorney Polly Shamoon said outside the courtroom. –R.H.
Witness testifies about liquor store deaths
Ex-girlfriend: Suspect described shootings
July 31, 2007 EL CAJON – An El Cajon man boasted to his girlfriend and others that he killed a liquor store owner and an employee during a robbery because they unmasked him and refused to open a safe, witnesses testified in court yesterday.
NANCEE E. LEWIS / Union-Tribune Jean Pierre Rices (right) sat with his attorney, Mark Chambers, during a preliminary hearing yesterday in El Cajon Superior Court. Jean Pierre Rices, 25, of El Cajon and Anthony Miller, 21, of Alpine are charged with murder in the slayings of Heather Nabil Mattia, 22, and Firas Washid Eiso, 23, on March 1, 2006, at the Granada Liquor Store, which Mattia's family owned. Rices and Miller were arrested in November after police received a tip.
Debbie Mays, who was Rices' girlfriend at the time of the shooting, testified yesterday at a preliminary hearing in El Cajon Superior Court that Rices told her of the shooting during a barbecue in May 2006.
Mays said Rices complained that he didn't have any money and tried to get her to become a prostitute to raise cash. Mays testified that when she finally agreed, Rices “said he was going to let her in on a secret,” then told her of the liquor store shooting.
Mays said Rices told her he “just wanted what was in the safe” and didn't intend to harm anyone.
She testified that Rices said he and Miller entered the store on Broadway and he scuffled with Eiso, who ripped off the ski mask Rices was wearing.
“He made the guy lay down and he shot the guy, and he shot the girl because she wouldn't open the safe,” Mays testified.
She said Rices told her that he ordered Miller to leave the store before shooting Mattia and Eiso because he didn't think Miller could handle seeing the shooting.
Another witness gave similar testimony. Dwayne Hooks testified that Rices said he shot them after the worker pulled off his ski mask.
Hooks, who is Mays' brother, testified that Rices told him of the shooting during a baby shower for Hooks' wife in July 2006.
Rices said “he was the one who smoked or shot the people,” Hooks testified.
Miller, who also attended the baby shower, didn't say anything but “he would nod along” as Rices spoke of the shooting, Hooks said.
A friend of Rices', Rodney Hodges, testified that Rices asked him to join in the robbery of a liquor store the night before the Granada shooting. Hodges said he refused because he was caring for his son and couldn't leave the house. He said Rices later told him of the shooting.
Hodges, who is jail awaiting sentencing for the attempted robbery of a Bank of America branch in July 2006, said he was attacked in his jail cell by someone who tried to stab him to keep him from testifying against Rices.
Rices also has been charged in the Bank of America attempted robbery. Hodges said he was promised no more than five years in prison in exchange for his testimony in the liquor store slaying case.
Hooks agreed to testify in the case in exchange for a reduced sentence for robbing a Washington Mutual branch in Lakeside in July 2006. Hooks was sentenced to one day in jail for the bank robbery and also relocated for his protection. Hooks was also given over $5000.00 and had his name removed from the Meagan's Sex Offenders List.
The preliminary hearing in the liquor store case will continue today before Judge Allan J. Preckel to determine if evidence is sufficient for a trial.
El Cajon police act on tip, arrest two men in liquor store slayings
November 28, 2006 EL CAJON – Two men have been arrested in the execution-style slayings of a liquor store co-owner and her friend during a robbery in March, El Cajon police said last night.
- El Cajon police Detective Sgt. Chuck Merino yesterday announced the arrests of two men in the slayings of Heather Nabil Mattia and Firas Waahid Eiso.
Anthony Miller, 21, of Alpine and Jean Rices, 25, of El Cajon are suspected of shooting Heather Nabil Mattia, 22, and Firas Waahid Eiso, 23, in the head as they lay on the floor of the Granada Liquor store, police said. Police held a news conference to announce the arrests, but did not say what information led them to Miller and Rices.
El Cajon Detective Sgt. Chuck Merino said a break in the case came “from out of the blue” about 10 days ago with information to sheriff's detectives in Santee. The information was relayed to El Cajon investigators last Tuesday.
Two detectives went to Miller's home in Alpine on Friday morning and took him into custody, Merino said.
Rices, already in County Jail facing trial on a bank robbery charge, was booked yesterday afternoon on charges of two counts each of murder and robbery, Merino said. Miller was booked on the same charges. They are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Merino said.
The killings shocked the victims' families – they are Iraqi Chaldean Catholics – community members and owners of other small markets.
Auday Arabo, president of California Independent Grocers & Convenience Stores, said “San Diego County is safer today” because of the arrests. His organization offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. Neither he nor police said whether anyone is in line to receive the reward.
Tapes from security video cameras showed that two men entered Granada Liquor on Broadway at 11:07 p.m. March 1. Within minutes, Mattia and Eiso were forced to lie on the floor in the middle of the store and were shot once each in the back of the head.
One gunman took money from two registers and the assailants left. The bodies were found at 11:15 p.m. by a longtime friend of the Mattia family, police said.
For months police received dozens of tips but nothing that led to the killers. On Aug. 31, sheriff's deputies arrested Rices on suspicion of holding up Washington Mutual bank in Lakeside on July 31. A teller testified in a September hearing that Rices held a pistol to her head and ordered her to open a cash drawer.
Rices was suspected of partnering with Rodney Lewis Hodges, 31, in several bank holdups in the county. Hodges is awaiting trial on a charge of trying to rob Bank of America in El Cajon, where robbers fired two shots into the ceiling but got no cash.
Family members said Mattia had co-owned Granada Liquor for three years with her brother, Chris, and was active at St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church in El Cajon.
Eiso, from Iraq, had lived in the United States about a year and was seeking asylum.
Prosecution could seek death penalty
- Gorgia Kato (center), Huda Betty (left) and Eveleen Farida (right) attended yesterday's hearing. The three are aunts of slaying victim Heather Nabil Mattia.
November 30, 2006 EL CAJON – Two men accused in the execution-style killings of a liquor store co-owner and one of her employees pleaded not guilty yesterday in a case in which prosecutors may seek the death penalty.
A Superior Court judge ordered Anthony Miller, 21, of Alpine and Jean Rices, 25, of El Cajon held without bail on murder and robbery charges.
The two are accused of fatally shooting Heather Nabil Mattia, 22, and Firas Waahid Eiso, 23, at Granada Liquor on Broadway near Mollison Avenue on March 1.
Prosecutors also filed special charges that could allow them to seek the execution of the two men if they are convicted. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis typically makes such decisions after a preliminary hearing is held to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to merit a trial.
Judge Laura W. Halgren scheduled a Jan. 22 preliminary hearing. However, that might be delayed because the mental competency of Rices to stand trial in an unrelated bank-robbery case has been raised.
A hearing to determine whether he is capable of understanding the charges against him and assisting his lawyer is scheduled for Dec. 20.
After yesterday's hearing, some of Mattia's relatives broke into tears as they left the courtroom.
Mattia's sister, Evelyn, 29, and father, Nabil, said they were emotionally devastated after seeing in court the men accused of killing Heather Mattia.
Sobbing as he spoke, Nabil Mattia said, “It's not easy.”
“Thank God they are caught and they are in custody and justice will be served,” Evelyn Mattia said. “We were all waiting for this day.”
She said she kept asking herself, “Why, why did they do this?” during the court hearing.
She said family members will go to Heather's grave to tell her what happened in court.
“She knows; she's watching,” Evelyn Mattia said.
Meanwhile, Rices' uncle, Carl Muhammad, read a statement expressing his sorrow.
“Two families have been devastated by the loss of two beautiful lives,” Muhammad said. “Words will never express the anguish we feel.”
Neither Rices nor Miller said anything during the hearing.
Miller was arrested at his Alpine home Friday. Rices was already being held in county jail awaiting trial on the bank-robbery charges. Sheriff's deputies arrested him Aug. 31 on suspicion of robbing a Washington Mutual bank in Lakeside on July 31, police said.
El Cajon police announced their arrests Monday, saying they got a major break in the case “from out of the blue” almost two weeks ago. Sheriff's deputies in Santee received the tip and relayed the information to El Cajon detectives, El Cajon police Sgt. Chuck Merino said.
Investigators had already received dozens of tips about the case, but nothing had led to arrests until then. Merino declined to elaborate on what information they had received.
Police said there were no witnesses to the late-night slayings, but that surveillance tapes from the store's security cameras captured the crimes.
The tapes showed two men going into the business at 11:07 p.m. and quickly forcing Mattia and Eiso to lie facedown on the floor in the middle of the shop. They were then shot in the back of the head.
One of the assailants took money from two of the store's registers, and the pair left at 11:11 p.m., the tapes showed.
The bodies were found a short time later by a family friend who was concerned because Mattia had not shown up at a planned gathering.
Mattia co-owned the store with her brother Chris Mattia for nearly three years, and she and Eiso were members of the large and tightknit Iraqi Chaldean community, which was stunned and outraged at the killings.
Shots fired and gun fights I have personally heard or seen
- The first time there was a shooting in my neighborhood was in the early '80s. A robbery gone bad, hostages taken and then several killed.
- In August 2005 there were shots fired just down the block from my house.
- I was in Lancaster in late September 2005 and there were shots fired from one gun, then, a short time later, a gun battle with two weapons and 10-12 shots.
- Wednesday, January 11, 2006 there were shots fired in my neighborhood, several blocks away, at 6:00am. Four shots, spaced out a bit. Ten minutes later there were shots exchanged, two weapons. Nothing in the news, never any police sirens.
Homicides Down In San Diego
01-13-2006 4:22 PM (San Diego, CA) -- San Diego Police say homicides in the city were down for the third year in a row. According to a report published in the "San Diego Union Tribune," there were 51 homicides last year, eleven less than in 2004, and a long way from the record 167 at the height of the crack-cocaine epidemic in 1991. San Diego police also reported nearly 50 percent fewer gang homicides in 2005, dropping to 12 from 22. Officials credit the decrease in part, to officer interaction with the community. The paper says, preliminary figures through November 2005 showed violent crime overall down two percent. That includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. It dropped to 6-thousand-25 cases from 6-thousand-168. Copyright 2006 Metro Networks Communications Inc., A Westwood One Company
1986 FBI Miami shootout http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_FBI_Miami_shootout
North Hollywood shootout http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Hollywood_shootout
Norco shootout http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norco_shootout
Newhall massacre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newhall_massacre
École Polytechnique massacre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/École_Polytechnique_massacre
Virginia Tech massacre 32 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Tech_massacre
Columbine High School massacre 13 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbine_High_School_massacre
Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting 27 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Hook_Elementary_School_shooting
Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter
Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and injured a man during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, his spokeswoman said Sunday.
Harry Whittington, 78, was "alert and doing fine" after Cheney sprayed him with shotgun pellets on Saturday while the two were hunting at the Armstrong Ranch in south Texas, said property owner Katharine Armstrong.
Whittington "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself," Armstrong told the Associated Press in an interview.
"The vice president didn't see him," she continued. "The covey flushed and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by god, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good."
The shooting was first reported by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
She said Whittington was bleeding but not very seriously injured, and Cheney was very apologetic.
"It broke the skin," she said. "It knocked him silly. But he was fine. He was talking. His eyes were open. It didn't get in his eyes or anything like that."
She said emergency personnel traveling with Cheney tended to Whittington, holding his face and cleaning up the blood.
"Fortunately, the vice president has got a lot of medical people around him and so they were right there and probably more cautious than we would have been," she said. "The vice president has got an ambulance on call, so the ambulance came."
An Accounting of Daily Gun Deaths
Gun violence costs nation $100 billion a year. Taxpayers carry bulk of burden, researchers say. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/352833_gunviolence27.html