The scene of the shooting in Ocean Beach. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A young man accused of gunning down another man in Ocean Beach pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge.

Thurs Loo John, 19, is accused in the Sept. 15 slaying of 58-year-old James Chase. In addition to the murder charge, John faces an allegation of using a semi-automatic handgun in the killing.

According to Lt. Andra Brown of the San Diego Police Department, officers responded just after 1 a.m. to reports that a man had been shot on the beach at 1900 Abbott St., near Lifeguard Tower 2.

Chase was found unconscious and mortally wounded on the sand, according to the lieutenant. The victim died at the scene.

Police came across John four days later in connection with a fight described as a “violent altercation” near the intersection of Reno Drive and University Avenue in City Heights. Details on that scuffle were not disclosed, but Brown said an officer was passing by and intervened in the fight.

John was injured in the incident and after being treated, he was arrested and booked into county jail on suspicion of murdering Chase, though police have not disclosed what led them to identify John as a suspect.

The suspected motive for the shooting has also not been disclosed and Brown said “it is unknown if the victim and suspect were acquainted.”

Bail was set at $1 million at John’s arraignment Tuesday afternoon. He’s due back in court Nov. 3 for a status conference.

— City News Service

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