San Diego Mainstream Media Downplay Suspected Serial Killer of Homeless People

by on November 5, 2019 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

2016 crime scene.

For some reason, San Diego’s mainstream press is downplaying the fact that the man in court is suspected of being a serial killer of people who were homeless.

On Monday, a preliminary hearing opened for Jon David Guerrero, 42, who is charged with four counts of murder with a special-circumstance allegation of multiple murders. He is accused of killing four people, three men and one woman during a murderous crime spree in 2016. Plus he may be charged for another murder, as one of the badly injured victims has since died. He also faces charges of attempted murder, arson and assault with a deadly weapon likely to cause great bodily injury.

That’s still a lot of murders. So many I thought of asking the ol’ citadel of wisdom, wikipedia: “How many random murders does it take for it to be a serial killing? ”

Here was my answer:

“A serial killer is typically a person who murders three or more people, usually in service of abnormal psychological gratification, with the murders taking place over more than a month and including a significant period of time between them.”

So, look at some of these headlines:

From the San Diego Union-Tribune: Hearing opens for man accused in series of deadly attacks on homeless men, 1 woman

7SanDiego: Victim Describes Brutal Beating at Suspected Homeless Attacker’s Hearing

10News: Preliminary hearing underway for man accused in deadly homeless attacks in San Diego

KPBS: Preliminary Hearing Set for Man Accused In Fatal 2016 Homeless Attacks

And none of the articles attached to the headlines raise the issue of a suspected serial killer. They all describe the gruesome attacks – some of the victims were set on fire, while others were impaled with railroad spikes – but downplay the over-the-top, absolute horrific nature of the killings, their total seriousness; that the victims were murdered by a serial killer.

Perhaps the words, “serial killer”, even a suspected one in custody are simply too scary, too provocative, too frightening for the tourists. Even if the murders are 3 years old. But – you do the math.

Mitchell Longley of Ocean Beach

One of the victims was a homeless resident of Ocean Beach. In early July 2016, Shawn Mitchell Longley, 41, was found dead in Robb Field, near Bacon Street in Ocean Beach.

Guerrero’s case has been delayed by numerous mental competency hearings and lengthy stays at Patton State Hospital. This past June, he was deemed mentally competent to stand trial, which has led to his preliminary hearing, expected to last about two weeks.

The prosecution alleges Guerrero’s crime spree began on Feb. 8, 2016, when a man who was sleeping on a sidewalk was stabbed.

Other alleged attacks include:

  • the burning of Angelo De Nardo, 53, whose body was found underneath an Interstate 5 offramp near the 2700 block of Morena Boulevard in Bay Park. Witnesses described seeing a man carrying a gas can running across the freeway near Clairemont Drive;
  • The following day, the OB guy, Shawn Mitchell Longley was found dead;
  • a 61-year-old Manuel Mason, a man who was homeless, was severely injured near Valley View Casino Center in the Midway district;
  • the morning of July 6, Dionicio Derek Vahidy, 23, was gravely injured in downtown San Diego by someone who fled after leaving a towel burning on top of him; he died in a hospital four days later;
  • July 15 – an attack happened shortly after 4:30 a.m, when two San Diego Harbor Police officers in a squad car in the 1800 block of C Street heard someone underneath Interstate 5 in the East Village yelling for help; a 55-year-old homeless man was suffering from “significant trauma” to his upper body;
  • months later,, investigators revealed that Guerrero is also suspected of fatally injuring 83-year-old Molly Simons July 13, 2016, in a North Park alley. Police said Simons was not homeless and lived with her husband.

The suspect did not know the victims, according to police.

Finally, after some diligent police work, Guerrero was arrested in the early morning hours of July 15, 2016, after the East Village victim was found. Guerrero — who was on a bicycle — had a backpack containing a large mallet with apparent blood stains along with three railroad spikes.

Don’t know the reasons our town’s mainstream press is downplaying the fact that what is really going on is that we have a suspected serial killer in court, but we are reporting that they are.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

bodysurferbob November 5, 2019 at 1:15 pm

i dunno, i’m nto a lawyer but maybe calif law has a specific definition.


Paul Webb November 6, 2019 at 2:28 pm

Does it really matter what he is called in the media? This is clearly a person with life-long mental health problems who has committed heinous acts. Adding a label like “serial killer” really adds nothing.

What we really need to be discussing is the pitiful state of the provision of mental health services in this country. There are far too many people (homeless and sheltered alike) who are not receiving adequate mental health support and treatment.


Frank Gormlie November 6, 2019 at 3:33 pm

It does matter what it’s called. Hiding the seriousness of the crimes does not help anyone. This is not a new tact by local media – downplaying certain scandals etc. Who wants to see the words “serial killer” with anything having to do with paradise?

And – just a note here is necessary, the suspect WAS NOT homeless.


Szin Barger November 2, 2020 at 8:55 pm

how do you know he has had life long mental problems?? and stating the truth is kind of a big deal. it lets everyone else know whats going on where they live that’s kind of important.


Melinda Canon January 10, 2020 at 7:51 pm

I’m a little late here, but I’m sure the press has been asked by the mayor’s office not to use the term. Cities will do whatever they can not to have that word used in the same sentence as their town. It’s really bad for tourism.


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