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Prayer Services, Vigil To Be Held In Honor Of University City Shooting Victim

The photo shows the pool area at the La Jolla Crossroads apartment complex in...

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: The photo shows the pool area at the La Jolla Crossroads apartment complex in University City, May 1, 2017.

San Diego Civil Rights Organizations Question University City Shooting Was Not Racially Motivated


Susan Murphy, reporter, KPBS News


Prayer services and a vigil are scheduled Wednesday to remember a woman fatally wounded by a gunman who opened fire at his University City apartment complex, shooting a total of seven people before before being killed by police.

Monique Clark, a 35-year-old mother of three, died at a hospital following the shooting at that took place Sunday around 6 p.m. as people were attending a tenant's 50th birthday party in the pool area of the La Jolla Crossroads complex at 9045 Judicial Drive.

Photo caption: Monique Clark, 35, is pictured in this undated photo.

Photo credit: Michelle Fuget, GoFundMe

Monique Clark, 35, is pictured in this undated photo.

Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, at 4321 Eastgate Mall, will host a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Organizers say the event is open to people of all faiths, or no faith.

First Baptist Church of San Diego, 5055 Governor Drive, is working with nearby parishes to put on a similar event that will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Both churches are in University City.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, a "dove vigil" in Clark's memory will take place at the shooting scene. A flier announcing the event, and a GoFundMe campaign to assist her family, says the purpose of the gathering "is to provide a place for the community to affirm its witness against violence and to remember to loss of Monique Clark's life."

This morning, entertainer Nick Cannon — a San Diego native — posted on his Instagram account that Clark was a longtime friend.

"I just learned that the one life lost in the senseless and tragic mass shooting in San Diego was my childhood friend, who was more like family, Miss Monique Clark," the actor-musician wrote. "Such a beautiful spirit with an infectious smile. I have nothing but wonderful memories of this Angel. 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."

San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said Monday that the gunman, 49- year-old auto mechanic Peter Raymond Selis, was distraught over a recent breakup and called his ex-girlfriend while indiscriminately firing a large- caliber handgun.

"There is zero information to indicate that race played a factor in this terrible and horrific crime," Zimmerman said in addressing speculation that the attack may have been racially motivated because Selis was white and his victims were black and Latino.

"The victims were targeted for no other reason but their mere presence in the vicinity of the (shooting)," she said. "It is apparent that Selis wanted his ex-girlfriend to listen in as he carried out his rampage."

The leader of a civil rights organization questioned that conclusion. The Rev. Shane Harris, president of the National Action Network's San Diego chapter, said at a news conference late this morning that he wants the SDPD to more thoroughly investigate whether the shooting was a hate crime.

RELATED: San Diego Police: Race Not A Factor In Pool Party Shooting; Shooter Despondent Over Breakup

"If we say that there was no racial involvement in this crime, then why is it that you have over five whites who were at the party, and yet (six) African-Americans and a Latino get shot," Harris said. "Something's got to be raised about that — something's a little concerning to us about that."

Photo caption: The National Action Network's San Diego chapter holds a press conference on t...

Photo by Matthew Bowler

The National Action Network's San Diego chapter holds a press conference on the University City shooting, May 2, 2017.

Alliance San Diego, a social-justice advocacy organization, has also suggested that police might have been premature in their determination of a motive for the shooting rampage.

"We are concerned that even before an investigation has concluded, and despite evidence that the killer appeared to target black and Latino residents and let others leave, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman has come to her own conclusions," the group asserted in a statement Monday.

The group said people of color "need to know that law enforcement agencies are here to serve and protect all people," adding that its members "call on Chief Zimmerman to conduct a thorough and complete investigation into the incident, including the possibility that the killer acted with racial animus."

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