Hearing Held In Rancho San Diego Home Invasion

Steve Goria, David Gates, Christopher Salmu, Ranse Shaba Accused Of Tying Up Family, Shooting Dog

A preliminary hearing began Tuesday in the case involving a Rancho San Diego family that was tied up and beaten by four armed robbers.

Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna said on December 15, 2010, Steve Goria, David Gates, Christopher Salm and Ranse Shaba put on masks, pulled out guns and raided the home belonging to Robert Fritzer and his family.

San Diego County Sheriff's Department Det. Michael Moore testified Fritzer was sitting in his backyard hot tub when the four men attacked.

"He's being attacked by several people, people pointing guns at him," said Moore.

Moore said Fritzer told investigators the men pistol-whipped him and ordered him to open two large safes in his home office.

"He was slightly bleeding from his mouth. He was a little angry about what happened to him and his family," said Moore.

Moore testified the gunman also tied up Fritzer's wife and daughter. He said the men even threw a pillow case over the daughter's head.

"Pillow case over her head and she is just freaking out," said Moore.

That's when the masked gunmen put a gun to the daughter's head.

According to Moore, the homeowner said he opened a safe when one of the intruders put a gun to his daughter's head and said, "Open the safe or I'll kill her."

Making a gun with his hand, Moore said, "One of the people puts a gun to Nicole's [Fritzer's daughter] head and that's when Fritzer moves over to the second safe. The safe opens and Fritzer and Nicole are pushed off to the side."

One of the gunman also shot the family dog, according to authorities. The dog survived the attack.

Sheriff's investigators had no leads in the case until the FBI contacted them. Special Agent Greg Houska testified hearing Goria discussing the robbery with the other three defendants during a wire-tap investigation that was a part of a federal investigation into an alleged sports gambling ring involving University of San Diego basketball players.

In court, Houska read from the transcript of one conversation between Goria and Shaba. Houska said Shaba told Goria, "‘I went over there. He [Fritzer] opened [the safe] and everything and the only thing that was in it was [expletive] 'pieces'."

Houska said "pieces" referred to guns.

Authorities said the men also got away with $70,000 in jewelry, guns and cash.

Goria and Gates are also facing charges in federal court stemming from the gambling ring investigation.

The preliminary hearing is expected to conclude Wednesday at the Downtown County Courthouse.

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