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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Man who opened fire in restaurant gets 49 years in prison

SAN DIEGO — A man who opened fire on a Hillcrest restaurant with an assault rifle but missed about a dozen people inside the diner was sentenced Friday to 49 years in state prison.

Stefano Markell Parker, 32, pleaded guilty last year to five counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm in connection with the February 12, 2019, shooting at an Asian bistro on University Avenue.

Parker has previously faced nearly a dozen attempted murders and a potential sentence of 374 years to life in that case.

San Diego police said Parker opened fire from the street at approximately 7:40 p.m., forcing patrons inside the restaurant to dive for cover. None of those inside were hurt by the shelling.

Parker fled the scene but was soon arrested in an alley on Fourth Avenue, according to police, who said the rifle that was fired was nearby.

Police and prosecutors have not released a motive for the attack.

The discovery of Parker’s homophobic social media post, as well as the location of the Hillcrest shooting, led investigators and city officials to suspect a potential anti-LGBTQ motivation.

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However, Parker was not charged with hate crimes in connection with the shooting.

Several months after the shooting, Parker was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial in the case and was sent to Patton State Hospital on at least one occasion for treatment.

Before the 49-year sentence was handed down, San Diego Superior Court Judge Frederick Link said he believed Parker had not received proper treatment prior to coming to California.

“He committed a very serious crime. He endangered many people. Thank God no one was hurt,” Link said.

Parker’s pleas were also accompanied by a confession that he was convicted of murder in 2006 in Alabama when he was a minor. In this case, he was sentenced to 20 years, but served only four.

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