A man accused of setting fire to his ex-girlfriend’s home day care facility in Chula Vista and shooting at her inside the residence, causing a worker to rush seven children into a bathroom, pleaded not guilty Thursday to multiple felony charges.

Suspect in Chula Vista day-care fire, shooting is led off.
Suspect in Chula Vista day-care fire, shooting is led off. Image via 10News

Gustavo Sepulveda, 36, was ordered held on $5 million bail in a case attracting international headlines.

Police said that on Monday about 3 p.m., Sepulveda went to the home on Corte Condesa — where he used to live, asking for his mattress.

When his ex-girlfriend wouldn’t let him in, Sepulveda allegedly tried to set the house on fire and broke a sliding glass door in the back of the property, police said.

One of the ex-girlfriend’s day care workers took seven children — ranging in ages from 1 to 8 years old — to a bathroom, police said.

Sepulveda allegedly fired his gun toward his ex-girlfriend and she returned fire from her own gun, but no one was hit, according to Chula Vista police.

The defendant allegedly set a number of fires in the house, causing smoke to build inside the home, authorities said.

Sepulveda was inside the residence and his ex-girlfriend was outside when police arrived, and the children were ushered out of the bathroom to safety, according to authorities.

The defendant was taken to a hospital for treatment of cuts to his feet and legs from broken glass, police said.

Sepulveda faces life in prison if convicted of premeditated attempted murder, shooting into an occupied dwelling, residential burglary, assault with a semiautomatic weapon, child endangerment and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He will be back in court Oct. 16 for a readiness conference and Oct. 19 for a preliminary hearing.

— City News Service