By JASON KUROSU
A man was convicted Wednesday of committing a shooting spree in the Gaslamp Quarter last year that left one man dead and four others wounded.
Travis Fereydoun Sarreshteh, 34, was found guilty of murder for the April 22, 2021, shooting death of 28-year-old parking valet Justice Boldin in front of the Pendry San Diego Hotel, where the victim worked.
Sarreshteh was also convicted of the attempted murders of four New Jersey men in a separate shooting outside Gaslamp Pizza, and assault with a semi-automatic firearm for shooting another man who was standing behind the group.
Deputy District Attorney Jessica Paugh alleged at trial that Sarreshteh’s recent break-up with his girlfriend spurred him to wander the streets of downtown and open fire on complete strangers, while Sarreshteh’s defense attorney alleged police captured the wrong man.
The shootings began at around 10:30 p.m., when Boldin was shot outside the Pendry hotel. Paugh said the defendant never exchanged words with Boldin before shooting him once in the chest, and then three more times after the victim collapsed to the ground.
Sarreshteh then walked north on Fifth Avenue, where he passed by a group of European tourists who he demanded salute him, she said. When one of them did, Paugh said he “let them live.” Two women testified that after hearing gunfire ring out near the Pendry hotel, the gunman walked by them in the street and assured then, “Don’t worry, I won’t shoot a girl.”
Later, the shooter approached a group of four men from New Jersey who were vacationing in San Diego and demanded the group get out of his way. After passing the men, Paugh said the shooter asked, “Are you laughing at me?” then opened fire until his gun jammed.
Three of the men were struck by the gunfire, while another man who was not part of the group was also hit.
Sarreshteh was later tackled by two bystanders near Fifth Avenue and Market Street, where officers arrested him and found a handgun in his waistband, according to the prosecutor, who said forensic evidence showed the gun matched spent casings left at both shooting scenes.
Sarreshteh’s defense attorney, Andre Bollinger, alleged his client was wearing similar clothing to the shooter and was walking in the Gaslamp that night, near where his then-girlfriend lived.
Though some witnesses identified Sarreshteh as the shooter in court, Bollinger alleged their recollections were colored by the fact that Sarreshteh was being accused of committing the shooting. Several other witness could not positively identify Sarreshteh as the gunman, he noted.
Bollinger also rejected the theory that the end of Sarreshteh’s relationship sparked the shooting, as Sarreshteh and his girlfriend frequently broke up and reconnected.
Part of the prosecution evidence included texts between Sarreshteh and his girlfriend, in which he told her on April 22 it was “now or never. If you don’t come with me now, then forever hold your peace.”
Paugh also cited an Instagram post Sarreshteh made on the morning of April 22, in which he wrote that it was the “last day” that anyone who owed him money could pay it back or that anyone who had wronged him could apologize.
“After today, you ain’t going to get Travis. He’s dead,” the post read. “I hate him and his loving hurt. It’s hate now, forever and always. This is your last day.”
Bollinger called the post “dramatic,” but said nothing in it contained concrete proof that he had any plans to commit a shooting or hurt anyone.