Eyewitness Account: Man Dies After Fatal Stabbing in Sherman Heights

by Remigia (Remy) Bermúdez

According to witnesses, passers-by and police officers, at approximately 5:30pm on Monday (October 1st) an altercation that started in Logan Heights at 22nd Street and the southern side of Imperial Avenue resulted on a man stumbling down at the corner of 22nd and L Streets in Sherman Heights bleeding from repeated stab wounds. According to a SDPD press release, sent to this San Diego Free Press’s (SDFP) contributing writer, the man died en route to the hospital.  Homicide detective Lt. Duran added, “The deceased victim has been identified, but his name will be withheld until his family can be notified.”

 It was like a scene from a movie, as the SDPD corded off the area with yellow plastic tape, topping fences of surrounding properties in the eastern and western sides was 22nd Street from L Street heading southerly through what appeared to be Commercial Avenue. The area remained cordoned off from around 6pm Monday evening through Tuesday’s morning hours of October 2nd to protect evidence from being disturbed, according to SDPD officers.

The first media on the scene was the San Diego Free Press, as this contributing writer lives nearby.  The paramedics, who took approximately 20 minutes to arrive according to witnesses at the scene, appeared to be befuddled as they seemed to take an excessively long time getting the victim into the ambulance, presumably because they were also trying to deal with the multiple bloody stab wounds.

Later, upon hearing from police that the stabbing victim died en route to the hospital, witnesses and community residents expressed their concerns regarding the paramedic’s response time, “Twenty minutes to get here was too slow, too lengthy to save a life.”

A witness lamented, “What is happening to our community?! What kind of people have the cold heartedness to repeatedly stab a person in bright daylight and in front of our children?!” Another witness chimed in, “Are we supposed to just stand by and be victimized, all over again?” The latter recalled a 2005 (2006?) random gang shooting at 22nd and L Streets which landed an innocent 8-year-old girl in the hospital with a lodged bullet in her body. Fortunately, she survived the wound. The trauma, obviously, is still there, based on the comments made tonight by the residents.

Other residents followed with, “The recent influx of suspicious-looking strangers walking our streets makes our past achievements for naught.  We worked for many years to get rid of the drug dealings, shootings and prostitution.  We cannot have it (our community) revert to the living conditions from years ago.”

SDPD Homicide Unit’s Lt. Duran stated that another man was injured on the October 1st altercation and that another couple is being questioned.  When asked if the weapon had been recovered, he said, “No, but his bloodied shirt is on the street.  The paramedics had to remove most of his clothing to take care of the multiple wounds.” Via the SDPD press release, Lt. Duran requests, “Detectives and forensic specialists are currently processing the scene for evidence and trying to locate witnesses. Anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to call the Homicide Unit at 619 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888 580-8477.” 

Sherman Heights residents have expressed concerns that criminal activity has elevated recently due to discontinued police patrols in the area; the lack of, or delayed, police response to the scene of criminal activity when called; and people’s fears of retribution if assailants find out who called the police. Residents complained that the SDPD is quick to respond to loud music complaints, but failed to show up when a crime was reported to 911 a couple of weeks ago.

Residents of the area near 22nd and L Streets are very concerned about criminal activity in their neighborhood.. Two weeks ago, sometime between 7:30 and 8’sh pm, a male adult on the street was punching out a woman half his size while the woman and many other people were screaming. This SDFP contributing writer was on the scene and  immediately, called 911. During the lengthy process with the 911 operator, the caller relayed the events, blow by blow: how the man repeatedly hit the female with his closed fist, pulled the female out of the car, slammed her onto the street pavement and dragged her up the street to the approximate length of 3 houses.

The SDPD never showed up, not immediately, not for the rest of the evening, not at all. One would think that response time would be immediate, having the SDPD’s precinct location at 25th and Imperial Avenue(a mere 3 blocks from the scene of the crime). Yet, not one patrol car or police officer showed up at the scene of the crime. This sequence of events was reported reported to  the District 8th Council Office and other nearby residents witnessed and corroborated the facts .

Plagued by criminal activity in the 1980’s, residents of Sherman Heights and the San Diego Police Department took the the streets, clearing out the criminal element to make Sherman Heights suitable for safe living and playing environments for the families and the children of the community. However, residents stated  that as of approximately 6 months ago, they have noticed what’s perceived to be drug dealing out in the open on L and 22nd Streets and a lot of trafficking of strangers along the same corridor, in between houses and alleys.

That, one would surmise, is to be expected when: “La patrulla en vigilia…/Absence of police….”…Assailants become repeat offenders and residents become repeat victims.

Remigia (Remy) Bermúdez, owner/operator of RemyLinks whose motto is “Responsible Government for Better Communities,” has lived in Sherman Heights since 1989. An avid community advocate, she has 8 years of professional experience in California Redevelopment (in San Diego) and over 20 years of professional experience with federal, state and regional governments and community advocacy. Having earned her Social Science B.A., a master’s in city planning and a BCLAD (Bilingual Ed.) teaching credential from SDSU, she uses all of her expertise to serve communities of the San Diego region.



  1. avatarJohn Anderson says

    Remy – thank you for the write-up and for helping to make Sherman Heights a safer neighborhood. Was saddened to hear about this death and alarmed it comes so soon after the armed home invasion at 22nd & K Street the night of 9/25.

  2. avatarRemigia (Remy) Bermudez says

    John, Thanks for noting that criminal activity is also taking place on K and 22nd St. It seems that we need to take our neighborhoods back, with or without the collaboration of the police. The questions are who, when, how.

  3. avatarBen Rivera says

    As a volunteer soccer coach at the joint use community field up the street, I have noticed an increase in gang grafitti in Sherman and Logan Heights. I reported this to the 8th district council representative as it appeared to be unusually bold in location and tone. This is of great concern to those of us working with the youth since we are working accross the boundaries and the kids have to walk back and forth accross the tracks to play and practice. Unfortunatly the City has been slow to take care of this problem and even slower to help keep the nessessary programs alive that work to counteract the violence. Furthermore, the closing of streets in that area has created dangerous deadends that are prime for criminal activity and a hazard for emergency response. The relocation of the orange line trolley stop to the outer edge of the community leaves residents an even more dangerous walk home down unlit streets. More City Neglect.

    • avatarRemigia (Remy) Bermudez says

      Ben, Thank you for your comments and thank you for continuing to volunteer to provide services to our youth and our fellow neighbors of Sherman Heights, services that should be provided and/or funded by the City of San Diego.

      If one were to rate “America’s Finest City” based on the services (ie., police preventive safety measures, the library hours,recreation center hours, undergrounding of utilities, the condition of our streets, etc. etc. etc.) in Sherman Heights and other communities south of I-8, they would get a “-0-” or an “F.

      I commend you, Memo, Daniel and others for giving our youth an opportunity to be engaged in positive, productive activities for in turn, these children will become positive, productive great role models for the younger generation as well as postivie, productive adults of our communities.

  4. avatarErnie McCray says

    I can picture the streets so clearly in my mind, the old homes, the nice neighborhood feeling. It’s a beautiful sight, one I grew accustomed to back in the late 60’s when I was the vice-principal at Sherman Elementary in the beautiful old brick building. That’s a great community and I hope this problem can be solved. Thanks for this report and please keep us up to date with any actions that are taken in the future to turn this rise in crime around.

    • avatarRemigia (Remy) Bermudez says

      Thanks, Ernie, for your comments. We need people like you and others to go to City Hall and demand better services or should I say, due services from the SDPD for communities south of I-8.

  5. avatarKerry Kiefer says

    I am astounded and dismayed at this story when there are so many — too many — police in neighborhoods like Hillcrest where stopping residents for comparatively silly reasons is commonplace. Meanwhile, in Mission Bay Park, the police regularly train their rookies on the homeless, waking them in the dead of the night, handcuffing them, and hauling them in for no reason outside of vagrancy and probably just for fun. There are so many police in Pacific Beach that it requires no stretch of the public imagination to see why they are there, as it seems obvious: they are watching short skirts and bikinis. Now, if that sounds like a crass lack of public trust, you may recall that not so long ago (a few years back before the Crash) the police were not only in cars, but also on motorcycles, bicycles, on horseback, and in dune buggies. It were as though the police would do anything in Pacific Beach to nab a tourist or a bikini-clad 18-year-old or a surfer.

    • avatarRemigia (Remy) Bermudez says

      The irony remains. The SDPD lobbied/implored residents of our Logan Heights and Sherman Heights communities to support it in building an SDPD station/precinct on 25th and Imperial (3 blocks from the reported incidents), promising us quicker response time and constant safety survaillance/patrolling. The City administration has dropped the ball and appears to be aloof of what the SDPD does. It appears that we need to remind the Mayor and the City Council that the Chief of Police is hired and fired by City Hall administration. Perhaps the time is overdue to have a performance evaluation be completed of the SDPD Chief of police and the SDPD vis a vis services, or lack thereof, to communities south of I-8.

      Based on what you state in your comments, the probability of the PD to arrest bikini clad females appears to rank higher on a list of priority. Just beceause there is no longer easily detectable prostitution along Market Street, doesn’t mean that police services should be discontinued or diminished.

      The main attraction for the SDPD ought not be how many arrests they can make, but how many lives they can save by providing preventive services and responding to the needs of our communities. For the City administration, the main attraction should be how many lives they can save by providing additional police patrolling, extended recreation centers and library hours to our youth and families, forging on-going generations of positive, productive citizens.

  6. avatarJim Bliesner says

    Great on the spot coverage of neighborhood news. Bet it wasn’t in the UT? Over the last six months I have also seen increases in random, vicious assaults in City Heights. Drive by shootings of innocent kids and only a few weeks after the cop was killed in broad daylight. This stuff is getting serious and it is getting swept under the rug by the police department. What are they doing about people getting killed on the streets in this City. Shouldn’t it be a high priority?

    • avatarRemigia (Remy) Bermudez says

      I am sorry, but not surprised, to hear that in City Heights the same issue prevails: perversive lack of services from the SDPD towards our communities south of I-8.

      As my previous replies to Ernie, Ben and Kerry, we need to go to the City Council Chambers at 202 C Street, 12th Flr. on a Tuesday at 9am and present comments during the “Public Comment ” segment and present our outrage as a united front, demanding true “Blue” services for communities south of I-8. The extreme would be to take it to the streets like the “Blacks” and “Oranges” did in Athens this past week per your SDFP reporting from Greece on 10/25 and 26/12. I’d hate to see that scene in San Diego. But sometimes that is the only way to get government to be responsible and responsive to its citizenry.

      I am not advocating violence but rather PRESENCE, a huge united PRESENCE on the streets or at City Council Chambers

      Another comment that came to my personal e-mail address suggested that a study of average response times of police and fire response to 911 calls by precinct or zip in Sherman and Logan is in order. I couldn’t agree with him more. But I would extend it to cover more communities south I-8 and would make it part of our demand from the San Diego elected officials during our united front facing the City Councilmembers at their Tuesday morning hearings. Our communities south of I-8 are under the governance of all of the elected officials of the City of San Diego in general, but more intricately under the City of San Diego’s Mayor, Councilman David Alvarez, Councilman Tony Young, Councilman Todd Gloria, and Councilwoman Marti Emerald, as she may very well be the first councilperson for the newly created 9th Council District, also south of I-8.

      We need to have our voices heard!