Advertisement

Package Bomb Injures Teenager at La Jolla Home

Share via
TIMES STAFF WRITER

The 14-year-old stepdaughter of one of the team doctors for the San Diego Chargers was injured Wednesday by an explosive device inside a small package left at the family home in La Jolla.

Jennifer Hutslar, stepdaughter of Dr. Gary Losse, suffered injuries to her left hand and cuts on her chest and face in the early morning explosion. She underwent four hours of surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where she was listed in fair condition.

The teenager did not lose any fingers, although her left thumb needed extensive repair by surgeons, hospital spokeswoman Sue Pondrom said.

Advertisement

“She’s scared, she’s upset, like we all are,” the teenager’s father, Robert Hutslar, told reporters after the surgery.

Jennifer had found the package near the family mailbox and brought it into the kitchen before opening it.

Mayor Susan Golding condemned the bombing, one of the first in the city’s history, as a “disgusting, cowardly act” and promised that the Police Department will find the bomber.

“I am angry that an innocent child has been seriously injured senselessly,” Golding said.

Police spokesman Bill Robinson said a call was received at 6:48 a.m. from Losse saying that his stepdaughter had just been injured when a package she brought into the house exploded. The package was addressed to Losse, Robinson said.

Police and arson inspectors declined to speculate on a possible motive for the bombing, which rocked the quiet upscale neighborhood. Losse, a prominent orthopedic surgeon, runs a sports medicine clinic in San Diego called the Oasis Sports Medical Group.

A onetime football player at the University of Wisconsin, the 47-year-old Losse has been one of the Chargers’ team doctors since 1981.

Advertisement

Many team doctors in the National Football League, dressed in suit and tie, wait on the sidelines for injured players to be brought to them. But Losse, dressed in Chargers’ colors, typically sprints onto the field whenever a Charger player is down.

A spokesman for the Chargers said there is no reason to believe that the attack was connected to Losse’s involvement with the team. One of the first people at Losse’s home after the explosion was Chargers’ equipment manager Sid Brooks.

“Gary is a part of our family at the Chargers,” spokesman Bill Johnston said. “This is a shock to everybody here.”

“Our hearts pour out to Dr. Losse and his family,” said Chargers star linebacker Junior Seau.

Losse, a Wisconsin high school star, went to college on a football scholarship before knee injuries ended his career after two seasons. He graduated from medical school in 1975 and did residency work in orthopedics in San Francisco before moving to San Diego.

Losse has become a leader in new arthroscopic surgical methods that have allowed professional athletes to extend their careers despite knee and shoulder injuries. He has lectured abroad on surgical methods and innovations in sports medicine and operated on soccer players in Italy.

Advertisement

He once estimated that he performs 600 operations a year: 400 on knees and 200 on shoulders. All but a handful of patients were nonprofessional athletes. Many of the surgeries are done on an outpatient basis. Losse has also acted as a team physician for the Scripps Ranch High School football team.

Jennifer is a freshman at La Jolla High School. The school’s principal took to the public address system in midmorning to tell students about the bomb incident and to offer counseling to any who needed it.

La Jolla is one of San Diego’s safest neighborhoods but it has been the scene of two high-profile crimes in recent months. In May, a UC San Diego professor and his daughter were shot to death outside their home just a few blocks from the Losse home, a crime that is still unsolved.

As firetrucks and San Diego police officers and agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms descended on the house that Losse shares with his daughter and wife, Lorrie, neighbors rushed to offer their support.

“My initial reaction was, ‘I’m for the death penalty,’ ” next-door neighbor Jim Bouskos said. “This kind of stuff has got to stop.”

Advertisement