Three teenage boys were behind bars today on suspicion of murdering a young college student after luring him to a late-night robbery in Paradise Hills by posing as sellers on the Craigslist website.
San Diego police officers responding to a report of gunfire about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday found the victim slumped over the wheel of his car in the 3000 block of Artemia Way, SDPD homicide Lt. Kevin Rooney said.
Medics took the mortally wounded man to Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest, where he was pronounced dead about a half-hour later.
Family and friends identified him as 18-year-old Garrett Berki, a 2010 La Jolla High School graduate who lived with his mother in Mission Beach. Berki, a Mesa College student, had gone with his girlfriend to the eastern San Diego neighborhood where he was slain to buy an item he’d seen for sale online.
Arriving at a pre-arranged meeting place, the couple was met by three youths who briefly pretended to be the Craigslist sellers before pulling a gun and demanding their cash and cell phones, Rooney said.
Following the holdup, the trio fled in a green Honda Accord, and Berki tailed them in his vehicle for about a mile to try to get a license plate number.
Reaching a cul-de-sac near Parkside Park, the Accord circled around and headed back toward Berki’s car.
“As the vehicles were next to each other, one of the (robbers) fired a shot, striking the victim,” Rooney said.
The thieves continued fleeing to the west for a short distance before the driver lost control of the Honda in the 3000 block of Fleming Way, sending it skidding to a halt. The three occupants then jumped out and ran off.
Officers searched the area by ground and aboard an SDPD helicopter and arrested the three suspects about a block from the site of the crash.
The teens, whose names were withheld because they are minors, were booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of robbery and murder, Rooney said.