Car where victim was shot
The car where the shooting victim was sitting. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A 34-year-old man was behind bars Thursday on suspicion of killing a 59-year-old man in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant in University Heights.

Patrol officers responding to a report of gunfire shortly after 2:45 a.m. Wednesday found 59-year-old Ernesto Gonzalez with apparent trauma to his upper body in the parking lot of the restaurant at El Cajon Boulevard and Texas Street, according to the San Diego Police Department.

Paramedics took Gonzalez to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Despite the report of gunfire — and two patrol officers in the area believing they heard gunshots — a knife was found at the scene and the cause of the victim’s death was not immediately clear, Lt. Matt Dobbs said.

As of Thursday morning, the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office was working to determine Gonzalez’s cause of death, Dobbs said.

Investigators determined the victim was fatally injured during a disturbance with another man in the parking lot, the lieutenant said. Authorities have not disclosed the nature of the disturbance or a possible motive for the slaying.

“Based on information gathered from the scene, investigators were able to identify a suspect in the case,” Dobbs said.

The alleged killer, later identified as 34-year-old Joshua Anthony Roberts, was arrested Wednesday afternoon in the North Park neighborhood, Dobbs said.

Roberts was booked into San Diego Central Jail early Thursday morning on suspicion of murder, according to jail records. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for May 21.

–City News Service