Former City Councilman Harry Mathis assaulted, hospitalized following robbery at his University City home


City News Service

Police today investigated a home-invasion robbery in University City in which former San Diego city councilman Harry Mathis was pistol-whipped after harmlessly firing a handgun at one of three assailants.

The robbery in the 5600 block of Sanburg Avenue was reported about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, said San Diego police Lt. David Rohowits.

Neighbors identified the victim as former San Diego city councilman and current Metropolitan Transit System Board chairman Harry Mathis, KFMB reported. Mathis represented the First City Council District which includes La Jolla.

Police did not immediately confirm the victim’s identity but said a 78-year-old man returned home and parked his vehicle inside his garage, then got out and was confronted by one of the three men.

The robber was armed with a handgun and demanded cash from the victim, who was carrying a concealed handgun and fired off two shots, Rohowits said in a statement. Neither shot struck the suspect.

The gunman wrestled control of the victim’s handgun and used it to pistol-whip him in the head, then ordered him inside the house, Rohowits said. In the house, the victim’s wife and a neighbor were being held by two masked men.

The three suspects demanded cash from all three victims, then locked them in a bathroom and searched inside the house for money, Rohowits said.

How much they stole was not immediately clear.

“That will be determined after more thorough interviews are conducted with the victims,” Rohowits said.

As the robbers fled, they set fire to the victim’s car inside the garage. The fire was quickly put out, Rohowits said.

The victim was taken to a hospital for a head injury he suffered when he was pistol-whipped. His wife and neighbor were uninjured, Rohowits said.

Detailed descriptions of the suspects were not immediately released.

Anyone with information about the home invasion was urged to call SDPD’s Robbery Unit at (619) 531-2299.