Private investigator shot while trying to detain bail jumper; gunman sought in Chula Vista

Investigators are searching for a gunman who shot a private investigator in Chula Vista on Monday night.
Investigators from the Chula Vista Police Department are searching for a gunman who shot a private investigator on Monday night on East J Street.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Chula Vista police were searching for a parolee they believe opened fire Monday night on two private investigators — wounding one of them — who tried to detain the man for jumping bail.

The victim, a 45-year-old man, suffered two gunshot wounds in the shooting on East J Street near Arroyo Place around 8:30 p.m. but was expected to survive, officials said.

SWAT officers surrounded a house in the San Diego area after police were called about the shooting, said Chula Vista police Lt. David Oyos.

Private investigator Jesse Nunez said he and his partner had gone to the house to try to detain the 36-year-old man on a fugitive warrant. When they got to the house, the man got into a Honda and drove off.

He returned to the area, with the two investigators following him in separate cars, Nunez said.


“As soon as he pulled into the driveway, he got out of the car and ambushed us with gunfire,” Nunez said. “Just as we were exiting the car, he immediately began firing at us.”

He said the man grabbed a long rifle that looked like an AR-15 and a handgun and fired off six or seven shots, hitting the victim in his arm and leg. Other shots hit the hood and door of Nunez’s car.

Nunez said he rushed his injured partner to the hospital to be treated. “He’s doing OK,” he said of the injured man.

Police said the victims said the last time they saw the shooter he was heading back toward the house so police went to the area and set up a perimeter around the house, Oyos said.

“By the time we got back out there to the house, we didn’t know if he was in the house. We are trying to ascertain if he’s still there,” Oyos said.

A 10News-TV reporter at the scene reported on Twitter shortly before 7 a.m. that officers were using a loudspeaker to call the suspect’s name. They also were using a drone to assist in their search and had set off a flash bang, a device that emits a loud noise. KUSI-TV reported the neighborhood was shut down and showed video of SWAT officers pointing guns at a home.


Police said the suspect, believed to be 36 or 37, was being sought on a warrant for evading and also was a parolee. Oyos said police assume the man failed to show up for court and a bail bondsman who posted the bond sent the recovery agents.

Nunez said the man was being sought on a felony warrant for failing to yield to a police officer in a 2019 case and had failed to appear in court for a hearing.

Nunez said an insurance company for the bail bonds company had hired his firm, Fugitive Warrants, to find the man.


12:27 p.m. March 16, 2021: This story was updated with information from Chula Vista police