Call it murder.
Multiple sources are reporting that a man was killed in a collisionwhile riding his bike in San Diego’s Otay Mesa West neighborhood late Thanksgiving morning.
And it didn’t take long for investigators to determine it could have been intentional.
The victim, identified only as a 40-year old man, was riding near Arey Drive and Picador Boulevard next to the Silverwing Recreation Center when he was run down by the driver of a light-colored SUV around 11:29 am Thursday.
He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
The driver fled the scene without stopping. Police are looking for an older model Chevrolet Suburban or Tahoe; there’s no description available on who was behind the wheel.
There’s also no word on how the crash occurred, or why police determined it was deliberate, although people at the recreation center may have seen the crash.
Every hit-and-run driver who kills someone should face a murder charge. This one actually might, if police can find them.
Anyone with information is urged to call San Diego’s Homicide Unit at 619/531-2293.
This is at least the 58th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th that I’m aware of in San Diego County, which is experiencing by far the bloodiest year in recent memory.
It’s also the second bike rider intentionally murdered by a driver in San Diego in just the last two months.
Update: The victim has been identified by relatives as 40-year old Octavio Mendoza, father of a ten-month old child, with another on the way.
Update 2: San Diego police have finally confirmed the victim’s identity as 40-year old San Diego resident Octavio Mendoza.
A photo from the scene suggests why investigators initially suspected homicide, as muddy tire tracks suggest Mendoza’s killer jumped the curb and drove across the grass field to chase him down.
Meanwhile, video from the scene shows his mangled bike lying in the gutter.
A crowdfunding campaign to pay Mendoza’s funeral expenses has raised just over $6,400 of the modest $12,000 goal.
Never mind that he leaves behind an eight-month old boy, with a second child on the way, who will never know their father.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Octavio Mendoza and his loved ones.
Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up on the updates.