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San Ysidro McDonald's »info

Owner: Allison Shaw

Dedicated To: San Ysidro McDonald's

Tribute: To the survivors, victims and family and friends of San Ysidro McDonald's




The San Ysidro McDonald's massacre was a mass shooting that occurred in and around a McDonald's restaurant in the San Diego neighborhood of San Ysidro on July 18, 1984. The perpetrator, a 41-year-old, shot and killed 21 people and injured 19 others before being fatally shot by a SWAT team sniper.

At approximately 3:56 p.m. on July 18, the gunman drove his black Mercury Marquis sedan into the parking lot of the McDonald's restaurant on San Ysidro Boulevard. In his possession were a 9mm Browning HP semi-automatic pistol, a 9mm Uzi carbine, a Winchester 1200 12 gauge pump-action shotgun, and a cloth bag filled with hundreds of rounds of ammunition for each weapon. A total of 45 customers were present inside the restaurant.

Entering the restaurant minutes later, the gunman first aimed his shotgun at a 16-year-old employee named John Arnold. The assistant manager, Guillermo Flores, shouted, "Hey, John. That guy's going to shoot you." According to Arnold, when the gunman pulled the trigger, "nothing happened". As the gunman inspected his gun, the manager of the restaurant, 22-year-old Neva Caine, walked toward the service counter of the restaurant in the direction of Arnold, as Arnold—believing the incident to be a distasteful joke—began to walk away from the gunman. The gunman fired his shotgun toward the ceiling before aiming the Uzi at Caine, shooting her once beneath her left eye. Caine died minutes later.

Immediately after shooting Caine, the gunman fired his shotgun at John Arnold, wounding the youth in the chest, before shouting a comment to the effect of, "Everybody on the ground." The gunman referred to all present in the restaurant as "dirty swines", shouting that he had killed thousands and that he intended to "kill a thousand more". Upon hearing the gunman's expletive-ridden rants and seeing Caine and Arnold shot, one customer, 25-year-old Victor Rivera, tried to persuade the gunman not to shoot anymore. In response, the gunman shot Rivera 14 times, repeatedly shouting "Shut up" as Rivera screamed in pain.

As most of the customers tried to hide beneath tables and service booths, the gunman turned his attention toward six women and children huddled together. He first shot and killed 19-year-old María Colmenero-Silva with a single gunshot to the chest, then fatally shot 9-year-old Claudia Perez in the stomach, cheek, thigh, hip, leg, chest, back, armpit, and head with his Uzi. He then wounded Perez's 15-year-old sister Imelda once in the chest with the same weapon and fired upon 11-year-old Aurora Peña with the shotgun. Peña—initially wounded in the leg—had been shielded by her pregnant aunt, 18-year-old Jackie Reyes. The gunman shot Reyes 48 times with the Uzi. Beside his mother's body, 8-month-old Carlos Reyes sat up and wailed, whereupon the gunman shouted and killed the infant with a single pistol shot to the center of the back.

The gunman shot and killed a 62-year-old trucker named Laurence Versluis, before targeting one of the families near the play area of the restaurant, who had tried to shield their children beneath the tables with their bodies. Blythe Regan Herrera (aged 31) had shielded her 11-year-old son, Mateo, beneath one booth, and her husband protected 12-year-old Keith Thomas under a booth across from them. The gunman began shooting people seated in the restaurant as he walked toward those under the tables. Ronald Herrera urged Thomas not to move, shielding the boy with his body. Thomas was shot in the shoulder, arm, wrist, and left elbow, but was not seriously wounded; Ronald Herrera was shot eight times in the stomach, chest, arm, and head but survived; his wife, Blythe, and son, Mateo, were both killed by numerous gunshots to the head.

Nearby, two women had attempted to hide beneath a booth. Guadalupe del Rio, 24, was against a wall; she was shielded by her friend, 31-year-old Arisdelsi Vuelvas Vargas. Del Rio was hit several times in the back, abdomen, chest, and neck, but was not seriously wounded, whereas Vargas received a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. She died of her wound the next day, the only person fatally wounded who lived long enough to reach a hospital. At another booth, the gunman killed 45-year-old banker Hugo Velazquez Vasquez with a shot to the chest.

The first of many calls to the emergency services was made at 4:00 p.m., although the dispatcher mistakenly directed responding officers to another McDonald's two miles (three kilometers) from the San Ysidro Boulevard restaurant. Within ten minutes, the police had arrived at the correct restaurant. They imposed a lockdown on an area spanning six blocks from the site of the shootings. The police established a command post two blocks from the restaurant and deployed 175 officers in strategic locations (These officers were joined within the hour by SWAT team members, who also took positions around the McDonald's restaurant).

Shortly after the first 9-1-1 call had been made, a young woman named Lydia Flores drove into the parking lot. Stopping at the food pickup window, Flores noticed shattered windows and the sound of gunfire, before "looking up and there he was, just shooting". Flores reversed her car until she crashed into a fence; she hid with her two-year-old daughter until the shooting ended. Three 11-year-old boys rode their bikes into the west parking lot to purchase soft drinks. Hearing a member of the public yell something unintelligible from across the street, all three hesitated, before the gunman shot the three boys with his shotgun and Uzi. Joshua Coleman fell to the ground critically wounded in the back, arm, and leg; he later recalled looking toward his two friends, Omarr Alonso Hernandez and David Flores Delgado, noting that Hernandez was on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds to his back and had started vomiting; Delgado had received several gunshot wounds to his head. Coleman survived; Hernandez and Delgado both died at the scene. The gunman next noticed an elderly couple, Miguel Victoria Ulloa (74) and Aida Velazquez Victoria (69), walking toward the entrance. As Miguel reached to open the door for his wife, the gunman fired his shotgun, killing Aida with a gunshot to the face and wounding Miguel. An uninjured survivor, Oscar Mondragon, later reported that he had seen Miguel cradling his wife in his arms and wiping the blood from her face. Miguel shouted curses at the gunman, who approached and killed him with a shot to the head.
At approximately 4:10 p.m., a couple, Astolfo and Maricela Felix, drove toward one of the service areas of the restaurant. Noting the shattered glass, Astolfo initially thought renovation work was in progress and that the gunman—striding toward the car—was a repairman. The gunman fired his shotgun and Uzi at the couple and their 4-month-old daughter, Karlita, striking Maricela in the face, arms, and chest, blinding her in one eye and permanently rendering one hand unusable. Her baby was critically wounded in the neck, chest, and abdomen. Astolfo was wounded in the chest and head. As Astolfo and Maricela staggered away from the gunman's line of fire, Maricela put her shrieking child into the arms of a fleeing woman and shouted in Spanish, "Please save my baby", before slumping against a parked car. The woman rushed the baby to a nearby hospital as her husband assisted Astolfo and Maricela into a nearby building. All three members of the Felix family survived.

Several survivors later said they saw the gunman walk toward the service counter and adjust a portable radio, possibly to search for news reports, before selecting a music station and returning to the shooting. Shortly thereafter, he searched the kitchen area, discovering six employees. He opened fire, killing 21-year-old Paulina López, 19-year-old Elsa Borboa-Fierro, and 18-year-old Margarita Padilla, and critically wounding 17-year-old Alberto Leos. Padilla had urged her colleague, 17-year-old Wendy Flanagan, to run, before being fatally shot. Flanagan, four other employees, and a female customer hid inside a basement utility room. They were joined by Leos, who had crawled to the utility room after being shot multiple times.

When a fire engine drove within range, the gunman repeatedly pierced the vehicle with bullets but did not wound any occupants. Hearing a wounded teenager, 19-year-old Jose Pérez, moaning, the gunman fatally shot him in the head; the boy slumped dead in the booth. Pérez died alongside his friend and neighbor, 22-year-old Gloria González, and a young woman named Michelle Carncross. At one point, Aurora Peña, who had lain wounded beside her dead aunt, baby cousin and two friends, noted a lull in the firing. Opening her eyes, she saw the gunman nearby and staring at her. He swore and threw a bag of french fries at her, then retrieved his shotgun and shot her in the arm, neck, and chest. She survived, although she would be hospitalized longer than any other survivor. Occasionally, the gunman blurted justifications before murdering his victims as he shot them.

Police had established a command post two blocks from the restaurant. They initially did not know how many shooters were inside, since the gunman was using firearms of several different types, and rapidly firing numerous shots. Because most of the restaurant's windows had been shattered by gunfire, reflections from shards of glass made it difficult for police to see inside. A police sniper who was part of the SWAT team was positioned on the roof of the post office next door to the McDonald's. He was authorized to kill the gunman should he have a clear shot.


At 5:17 p.m., the SWAT sniper perched on the post office roof obtained an unobstructed view of the gunman from the neck down for a few seconds; he fired a single round, which entered the gunman's chest, severed the aorta just under his heart, and exited through his spine, leaving an exit wound one inch square and sending him sprawling backwards onto the floor directly in front of the service counter, killing him within seconds.

The incident had lasted for 78 minutes, during which time the gunman fired a minimum of 245 rounds of ammunition, killing 21 people and wounding 20 others, one of whom died the following day. Seventeen of the victims were killed inside the restaurant and four in the immediate vicinity.

Although The gunman had shouted at the beginning of his shooting spree that he had "killed thousands" in a comment indicating he was a veteran of the Vietnam War, he had never actually served in any military branch.