Woman Shares Tale of Survival – NBC 7 San Diego

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“If I had been in that front seat or anybody — that looks like a headshot to me.”

A 61-year-old woman wrapping up her day as a vendor on the boardwalk in San Diego’s Mission Beach community was shot in the back Monday night when gunfire erupted near Belmont Park. The shooting on Labor Day was the second time the amusement park area has been rocked by gunfire in as many weeks.


Kelly Sexton in the camper of her pickup truck. Photo by NBC 7’s Dana Griffin

The woman shot this weekend — and the four victims from last weekend — are all expected to survive their injuries.

On Tuesday, NBC 7 caught up with a woman whose vehicle was hit by bullets on Monday night who believes that she and her husband, who had been working as vendors in the area that day, were lucky to escape with their lives.

A woman recalls the frightening ordeal when her 61-year-old friend was shot near Belmont Park. NBC 7’s Audra Stafford has more.

“We were just laying down,” said Kelly Sexton, who, along with her husband, lives in the camper of their pickup truck. “We had just relaxed from a weekend of vending, and we were watching a movie, and I was kind of drifting off to sleep, and then all of a sudden, we just heard, you know, the pop, pop pop, pop, pop, pop. It was just so many.”

Sexton said she believes she heard as many as 10 gunshots. She said her instincts could have gotten her killed if she had acted on them.

Mission Beach vendors are on edge after one of their own was caught in the crossfire of a shooting and shot in the back. NBC 7’s Audra Stafford speaks to neighbors and vendors on the violence.

“Your initial reaction is to sit up, and I pulled my husband back down like, ‘No, stay down,’ you know: ‘The bullets are flying everywhere,’ ” Sexton said. “So we just froze. We felt trapped and this is our safe space.”

Sexton said the woman who was shot — who had also been working as a vendor — was parked next to Sexton’s truck, so when the shooting ended, it was only natural that Sexton would run to the victim with her first aid kit to help. The woman who was shot, Sexton said, was alert.

“She’s tough,” Sexton said. “She really took it, took it well,” adding a message to the woman she calls Mama Bear: “My prayers are with you, Mama, I can’t wait to see you and give you a big hug.’ “

A police officer told Sexton that she, too was a victim.

“I feel so violated,” Sexton said. “My husband and I, we keep breaking down crying, but it’s not really processed for us yet, what really happened.”

SDPD said the victim, a 61-year-old woman, was shot in the back. NBC 7’s Omari Fleming has the latest.

Sexton’s truck — her home — was repeatedly hit by gunfire. Her vehicle was hit twice by bullets, she said.

“… it ricocheted and went in, and I don’t think they recovered the bullet,” Sexton said, adding that she believes it is now lodged somewhere inside her truck.

At least two vehicles in the parking lot, including Sexton’s, had bullet holes in them after the shooting; bullet casings were strewn about the area.

NBC 7’s Artie Ojeda checked out the beach scene in Carlsbad and heard from San Diegans who said the holiday offered time to reflect.

A little over a week ago, on Aug. 28, three men and a woman were wounded in another shooting near Belmont Park. That incident occurred at 10 p.m. on a Saturday might after a fight broke out between two groups of people at the intersection of Ventura Place and Mission Boulevard, said Officer Robert Heims of the San Diego Police Department. Two men ran a short distance from the fight southbound on Mission Boulevard before turning back toward the crowd and firing multiple shots, Heims said.

For her part, Sexton is still trying to make sense of the violence that took place on an otherwise mostly peaceful day at the beach.

“It’s senseless,” Sexton said. “I don’t understand, you know, where we go? How do we make this change? Get these guns out of the hands of children, you know?”

The San Diego police have not identified any suspects or a motive in the shooting.

The friend, who asked not to be identified, said the victim was shot amid a flurry of nearly a dozen shots. The friend said she heard the victim yell, “I’ve been hit! I’ve been hit!” following the gunfire.

Two vehicles in the parking lot had bullet holes in them after the shooting; bullet casings were strewn about the area.

The victim’s friend said the victim comes to the boardwalk to help her daughter frequently and said she doesn’t believe anyone would have a reason to target her.

NBC 7 spoke with another vendor, Kelley Sexton, who said she knows the victim because they see each other on the boardwalk all the time.

“We’re all like family,” she added.

Sexton said she and her husband were parked right next to the SUV that the victim was loading at the end of the day. Sexton’s car was hit twice by bullets, she said, and her driver’s side front window was shot out.

SDPD has not identified any suspects or a motive in the shooting. No one else was hurt.

The shooting occurred despite increased police presence in the Belmont Park area following two other recent shootings that injured bystanders.

The Mission Beach area, especially around Belmont Park, is a key spot for crowds — both tourists and locals alike. Earlier in the day, the area had been packed with people enjoying their Labor Day.



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