SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8/CNS) - Police Saturday publicly identified a Marine who was stabbed to death in the Gaslamp District early Friday.
Ryan Evan Harris, a 21-year-old native of Northern California, was killed after a fight apparently broke out in the 500 block of Island Avenue at about 1:30 a.m. Friday, according to San Diego Police Lt. Todd Griffin. Harris was a United States Marine assigned to Camp Pendleton.
Police dispatchers received a report of the fight and officers responded to the scene, finding Harris down on the sidewalk with what appeared to be stab wounds in his upper body, Griffin said.
Despite efforts from officers and paramedics, Harris died at the scene.
"It is very tragic ... and we'll work hard to bring justice to the victim and his family," Griffin said.
While tending to the Marine, police received another report of a second stabbing victim about a block away on J Street, Griffin said. Police quickly determined the second victim, who was not believed to be a Marine, was injured in the same brawl on Island Avenue.
Paramedics took the second man to a hospital for treatment and he was expected to survive, Griffin said. He was reportedly stabbed in the back and chest.
More than five hours after the fight was first reported, officers and detectives were still conducting interviews in an attempt to piece together details of the deadly assault. Griffin said several others involved in the fight who later spoke to police as witnesses were also Marines based at Camp Pendleton.
"The other Marines are being treated as witnesses at this point," Griffin said. But the lieutenant warned that "at this point, we only have one side of the story."
Investigators canvassed several nearby blocks looking for evidence - at times putting up crime tape including this scene at a nearby trolley station.
They also spoke with many nearby businesses. Several have security cameras outside, but most tell News 8 they weren't pointed at the intersection where the fight began.
“As you can imagine there is quite a bit of video surveillance to go through. There are a lot of cameras and we're discovering more as we are moving through the day and finding open businesses,” said Griffin. “So yes we are gathering video surveillance and there's no doubt that will be of some assistance.”
The Marines released a statement Friday, expressing their condolences to the family:
A Marine assigned to 1st Marine Logistics Group sustained fatal injuries as a result of an incident that occurred in the City of San Diego at approximately 1:00 a.m. Friday. Please contact the San Diego Police Department for questions regarding circumstances surrounding this incident and ongoing investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased Marine. The Marine's name and service record information will be released 24 hours after next of kin has been notified.
Police said the suspect was described only as a Hispanic man, possibly accompanied by a second Hispanic man.