San Diego Police cruiser SDPD vehicle patrol
San Diego police car. Photo credit: OnScene.TV

Authorities on Thursday released the identity of a man killed in a Thanksgiving hit-and-run crash in Otay Mesa West that investigators believe was a willful homicide.

Octavio Mendoza, 40, was riding a bicycle near Silverwing Recreation Center when a vehicle, possibly a light-colored SUV, struck him shortly before 11:30 a.m., according to San Diego police.

Following the collision in the 3700 block of Arey Drive, the unidentified motorist drove off. Paramedics took Mendoza to a hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

Evidence indicates that the driver ran down the victim on purpose.

“Detectives do believe the collision was an intentional act, and are investigating the case as a homicide,” Lt. Jud Campbell said.

The lieutenant did not disclose what led police to that conclusion.

Investigators, who have no description of the hit-and-run driver, hope to interview potential witnesses who were at the baseball fields near the scene of the crash at the time it occurred, the lieutenant said.

Anyone with information about the case was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477 or leave a tip online. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

– City News Service