SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8/CNS) - Police announced on Sunday that two San Diego men have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a Camp Pendleton Marine in the Gaslamp District.
Officers arrested 35-year-old Jose Oscar Esqueda and 24-year-old Jeff Shai Holliday – who calls San Ysidro his hometown on Facebbok - on Saturday, said San Diego Police Department Lt. Todd Griffin.
Both are suspected of murdering Ryan Evan Harris, a 21-year-old Northern California native, in an apparent fight that broke out on Island Avenue in the Gaslamp District early Friday morning.
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 torso, Griffin said.
Harris' grandparents - who raised him - say Harris was trying to be a peace-maker when it happened.
"Ryan was the all-American kid - if you had a son - you'd want one like Ryan," said Harris' grandfather Larry Holt. "A fight broke out with some other Marines in the area and he intervened, trying to break up the scuffle and was stabbed in the process."
Despite efforts from officers and paramedics, Harris died at the scene.
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.
Police aren't saying what specifically led them to the two men they arrested late Saturday night, but when the incident happened - they said there were several witnesses.
Esqueda was booked in to county jail for murder, attempted murder, and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Holliday was booked in to county jail for murder, assault with a deadly weapon, battery, and probation violation.
Harris had just returned to San Diego after spending Christmas with his family.
Harris' family says he had been in the Marine Corps for about 2-and-a-half years and was just promoted to Lance Corporal. They say he planned to serve another year-and-a-half, then become a highway patrol officer.