Police probe 2 shootings in La Jolla: Suspected shooter arrested, ID'd as Hans Petersen

Victims ID'd as Steven Dowdy, Ron Fletcher

LA JOLLA, Calif. - A man who allegedly shot and wounded two La Jolla residents, including his estranged wife's brother, at homes about a half-mile apart early Wednesday was arrested following a scuffle with the second victim, authorities reported.

Hans Petersen, 49, is suspected of opening fire into a home in the 5700 block of Waverly Drive about 3 a.m., wounding a 53-year-old man who had been awakened by the gunshots and got up to investigate, according to San Diego police.

The victim suffered a bullet wound to his upper body, SDPD public affairs Lt. Kevin Mayer said.

According to San Diego police Officer Dino Delimitros, the victim told investigators he and his wife were asleep in their bed when he was awakened by the sound of gunfire and got out of bed.

The victim said he was shot by someone clad in dark clothing standing in his backyard, Delimitros said, noting that the victim's wound was not life-threatening.

Shortly before 7 a.m., more gunfire was reported in the 1400 block of Cottontail Lane, about a half-mile southwest of the site of the first shooting. There, police found a 43-year-old resident with a gunshot wound to his upper body and Peterson suffering from a head injury, Mayer said.

The 43-year-old victim, the suspect's former brother-in-law, told officers that after being shot in the abdomen, he managed to wrest the gun away and the assailant him over the head with it.

Medics took the gunshot victims, both of whom were expected to survive, to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. Police withheld their names, but neighbors identified the initial victim as Steven Dowdy and the second as Mission Beach-based real estate agent and property investor Ron Fletcher.

The extent of Fletcher's injury was unclear, though police said he was conscious and breathing on his own at the scene.

Fletcher's sister, Bonnie, is Petersen's estranged wife, 10News learned.

Petersen was treated at the same hospital before being released and taken to downtown SDPD headquarters for questioning. He was booked into county jail on multiple firearms and attempted murder charges, as well as a burglary charge, Mayer said.

The relationship between Dowdy and the suspect was unclear, though the residents of both homes involved in the shootings are acquainted, Mayer said.


Two young girls were in Fletcher's home at the time of the shooting, according to police. Neither was harmed, Mayer said.

Police described the neighborhood as a quiet area where crime rates are low and incidents like this are unusual.

"Everybody knows everybody," said Bill Burke, a neighbor. "We keep pretty good tabs on one another."

Dowdy told police he does not have any idea why anyone would target him or his family. 10News learned that Dowdy is also a well-known cancer researcher at UC San Diego.

10News learned through court documents and property records that the suspected shooter and Dowdy live on the same street.

Rick Jones, a friend of Fletcher's, said he can't imagine who would want to hurt him.

"He's a great guy, great dad," Jones said of Fletcher. "He's very well-known in this community and this is tragic."

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