A 43-year-old La Jolla man was shot and wounded at his home by his sister's ex-husband early Wednesday (Sept. 18), just hours after the gunman is believed to have shot and wounded another man in a related attack in the same upscale neighborhood.
The latter confrontation occurred while the victim's two young daughter were present, police said.
Officers received word of the latter assault with a deadly weapon at the home at 1462 Cottontail Lane just before 7 a.m., according to San Diego police Lt. Kevin Mayer. Once there, they found a 43-year-old man had been shot in the torso and a 48-year-old man had a head injury, he said.
Investigators learned that the older man went to the younger man’s home and shot him, then the younger man took the older man’s gun and struck him over the head with it, according to Mayer. The victim's daughters were home at the time but neither was harmed, he said.
The extent of the younger man's injury was unclear, though Mayer said he was conscious and breathing on his own at the scene, and detectives were waiting to question him once he came out of surgery.
The suspect was treated at the scene and was expected to be booked into jail once medically cleared, Mayer said.
Linda McGowan, who lives next to the home where the incident occurred, told
La Jolla Light
she was awakened by a "pop, pop, pop" shortly before 7 a.m. "I didn't hear any noises or anything else. I thought maybe it was construction."
"They were nice neighbors; there were no problems, no trouble," said McGowan, who added that the victim and homeowner, identified by police as La Jolla Realtor Ron Fletcher, is divorced.
A neighbor across the street, who wished to remain anonymous, said he heard the gunfire and loud voices afterwards, but thought his neighbor was watching television.
Four hours before the shooting on Cottontail Lane, the suspect, identified by police as Hans Peterson, went to a home in the nearby 5700 block of Waverly Drive and shot 53-year-old UC San Diego researcher Steven Dowdy, Mayer said without elaboration. The victim in that shooting was expected to survive.
The lieutenant declined to say how the suspect knew the earlier victim, citing an ongoing investigation, though, according to a story in
public records reveal that Peterson and Dowdy were both investors in a biopharmaceutical company that filed for bankruptcy last year.
Dowdy was shot in his torso through his bedroom window just before 3 a.m., according to San Diego police Officer Dino Delimitros. The man told investigators he and his wife were asleep in their bed when he was awakened by the sound of gunfire and got out of bed, the officer said in a statement.
He said he was shot by someone clad in dark clothing standing in his backyard, Delimitros said, noting that the man’s wound was not life-threatening.