The man who opened fire into an Asian restaurant in Hillcrest, San Diego, with a semiautomatic rifle in 2019 pleaded guilty on Thursday.
Going to prison: Stefano Parker, 32, pleaded guilty to five charges of assault with a semiautomatic firearm for the incident that took place outside The Asian Bistro on University Avenue in February 2019, according to NBC San Diego.
- Parker faced a potential life imprisonment sentence for a dozen counts of attempted murder before pleading guilty, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Due to his plea, he will instead receive 49 years of jail time.
- The suspect, who admitted to having a 2006 murder conviction in Alabama where he received a 20-year sentence but only served four years, was not charged with hate crime allegations for the 2019 shooting, Times of San Diego noted.
What happened: Parker was wearing a trench coat when he fired 20 shouts outside The Asian Bistro at around 7 p.m. on the night of the incident, forcing diners and restaurant staff to duck for cover.
- He injured no one and calmly fled the scene, authorities said. He was arrested in an alley shortly after the shooting.
- While no motives for the shooting were revealed, police said they discovered a homophobic post on Parker’s social media before the incident. The neighborhood where The Asian Bistro is located is known for its LGBTQ+ community, NBC San Diego reported in 2019.
- The owner of the restaurant didn’t recognize Parker, but a family member of his saw Parker a weekend before this incident fighting with a group of Asian Americans outside the restaurant. “He was just mumbling something incoherent and giving me a weird look and gave me a weird feeling so I was like, screw this and went back inside the restaurant,” the family member said.
- “We pride ourselves on being a very diverse city that celebrates unique culture,” then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in a press conference. “That is never going to change. We will stand together to denounce violence, and we will stand together to support our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community.”