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Jerry Sanders: 'No Solution' To Mass Killings

Former San Diego mayor and police chief Jerry Sanders talks about the mass killings in San Bernardino in light of the mass killing he responded to in 1984, Dec. 3, 2015.
Jean Guerrero
Former San Diego mayor and police chief Jerry Sanders talks about the mass killings in San Bernardino in light of the mass killing he responded to in 1984, Dec. 3, 2015.

San Diego's former mayor, police chief speaks from experience, having responded to a mass shooting 31 years ago in San Ysidro

Jerry Sanders: ‘No Solution’ To Mass Killings
Former San Diego Mayor and Police Chief Jerry Sanders says little can be done about mass killings like the one in San Bernardino, or the one he responded to in San Ysidro 31 years ago.

The mass shooting Wednesday in San Bernardino brought back memories to former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.

Sanders was a police lieutenant and the commander of a SWAT team that responded to a rampage at the San Ysidro McDonald's, where a gunman killed 21 people in 1984.

The McDonald's shooting had a profound effect on San Diego, Sanders said.

"It really injured a community. It really changed relationships in a community," Sanders told KPBS on Thursday.

"When something occurs like that, that is so tragic. It really kind of rips people apart and it takes a long time to bring them back together," he said. "And I would imagine in San Bernardino they're going to have that same issue."

Sanders gave the order to a marksman atop a neighboring post office to shoot and kill the McDonald's killer.

The latest reports from San Bernardino say 14 people were killed and 21 were injured in Wednesday's shooting, which took place inside the Inland Regional Center for treatment of people with disabilities.

Sanders had a sobering message for people searching for solutions to such violent attacks.

"There is no solution," he said. "You have some people who decide to do things that you can't predict. They're disaffected people who probably somebody knows something about, but they don't really think they're going to do anything."

You simply can't have security everywhere, said Sanders, now the president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Asked about tighter gun regulations, he said they won't necessarily work because so many guns are already out there.

On Friday, Sanders contacted KPBS through a spokeswoman to clarify that he supports increased gun control, specifically a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks.

She pointed out that in October he joined Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, and other San Diegans in signing a letter to congressional leaders calling for action to end the epidemic of gun violence across the country.

Corrected:
Editor's note: This story has been updated to provide more information from Jerry Sanders about his position on gun control, which he supports.