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LGBT community officials, Mayor Faulconer walk through shaken Hillcrest

LGBT and SD officials take a walking tour through a shaken Hillcrest.
Photo credit:
Nicole Murray Ramirez

It was a wet Thursday evening on Valentine's Day when Mayor Faulconer and a group of San Diego's LGBT officials walked throughout the neighborhood of Hillcrest to check-in with the community following Tuesday's shooting. 

On February 12, 29-year-old Stefano Markell Parker, took a loaded automatic rifle and fired into the busy Asian Bistro on University Avenue just before 8 pm. Police found 19 shell casings on the ground in front of the restaurant, but luckily nobody was injured.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer wasn't going to let fear rule the community and forewent his Valentine's Day plans to take a long stroll down University, Fourth and Fifth Avenues in Hillcrest to show his support for a shaken neighborhood.

He and a group which included, City Commissioner and Honorary Mayor of Hillcrest Nicole Murray-Ramirez, City Commissioner Susan Jester, and Executive Director of the LGBT Visitor's Center Eddie Reynoso toured bars and businesses.

One stop, perhaps the most important, was at the site of the shooting itself, the Asian Bistro, where windows were still boarded up as a result of shattering from the hail of bullets. 

Employees at the scene were cleaning up and stated they hope to reopen next Monday or Tuesday. 

"Mayor Faulconer's walkthrough Hillcrest last night sent a strong message that no San Diego neighborhood or community will tolerate hate crimes," stated Murray-Ramiez. "Not in America's Finest City."

Police are still investigating the incident and may consider it to be a hate crime since the shooter made a homophobic social media posting late in January.

The community was also hit with vandalism last week when someone defaced the Pride flag monument on Normal Street, scratching out rainbow colors and LGBT advocate's faces on commemorative plaques. 

There is a fundraising effort to help restore the Pride flag to its original form and prevent any malicious damage from happening again.