SAN DIEGO (AP) — A 35-year-old mother of three children was the lone person killed by a despondent gunman who police said shot seven people at a poolside birthday bash in San Diego after a breakup with his girlfriend.
A childhood friend said he will miss the infectious smile of victim Monique Clark, who was devoted to her daughters, ages 2 to 13.
Monique Clark (GoFundMe)
“She had such a great personality,” said Vincent Howard, who met Clark in high school. “She was always smiling. She was always with her kids and everyone else’s kids. She was like a mother to them all.”
Howard said Clark also helped homeless people, volunteering often at food drives.
“I have nothing but wonderful memories of this Angel,” entertainer Nick Cannon, a childhood friend of Clark, wrote on his Instagram account. “Tears can’t express the pain and shock. A mother of 3, a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a friend and a Queen… Rest in Paradise.”
Authorities say Clark was shot and killed Sunday by 49-year-old Peter Selis, who was angry over the recent breakup and called his ex-girlfriend during the attack so she could hear him shooting strangers.
Officers killed Selis in a shootout at the upscale apartment complex that owners describe as a Mediterranean village with playgrounds, pools, deli and other facilities. The six other victims were expected to survive
Clark’s family could not be reached for comment. Her mother, Michelle Fuget, wrote on the GoFundMe website that her daughter was beautiful, funny and feisty.
“The grieving process is fresh, raw, and real,” Fuget wrote. “My granddaughters lost their mother, I lost my daughter, her siblings lost their sister, and countless other family members and close friends have lost someone who was taken from us too soon due to a senseless” cowardly act of violence.
The pool party to celebrate the host’s birthday was in full swing when Selis, reclining in a lounge chair with a blank expression, pulled a gun from his waistband and began shooting. Bodies fell on the pool deck and people ran for their lives.
Selis was white and all but one of the victims were black or Latino. Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said there was “zero indication” race was a motive for the shooting.
Instead, it seemed to be driven by the split-up with the woman who Selis called after he shot his first two victims.
“It is apparent that Selis wanted his ex-girlfriend to listen in as he carried out his rampage,” Zimmerman said. “These victims were just in his vicinity when he committed this terrible tragedy.”
The shooting began after the party’s host approached Selis, who stood out from the crowd of about 35 people as he sat alone by the pool gate wearing a heavy black jacket on a hot day, said Demetrius Griffin, a guest at the party.
Griffin assumed the party’s host, who was always welcoming, invited the man to join the fun. Instead, Selis shot the host twice in the torso and then opened fire on the party, Griffin said.
“It was very eerie, to say the least,” Griffin said. “He didn’t stand up. He didn’t say anything. He just opened fire.”
Selis, a father who worked as a mechanic at a Ford dealership, left no hint that he was planning an attack, police said.
He filed for federal bankruptcy protection in October 2015, listing $14,000 in assets and $108,000 in liabilities, according to court records.
Efforts to reach his family and ex-girlfriend were unsuccessful.
AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York and reporters Elliot Spagat in San Diego and Christopher Weber, Michael Balsamo and Brian Melley in Los Angeles contributed to this report.