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Man accused of flooding Little Italy apartment building faces judge

Posted at 4:51 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 21:20:51-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A man accused of causing a flood which some tenants confused for a terrorist attack faced a judge Wednesday to enter his not guilty plea.

A Deputy District Attorney argued that Francisco Morales is a danger to the community.

"He poses a great threat to the community as there are over 200 individuals, citizens in the community of Little Italy who cannot go home; they have essentially lost everything," she said.

The judge agreed, and raised Morales' bail from $600,000 to $1,000,000. Morales faces 45 counts of felony vandalism and 5 counts of assault intended to cause great bodily injury.

Several residents were forced to flee from their Little Italy apartment complex Monday morning after police said Morales opened pipes and used a fire hose to flood all eight floors of the building.

Water from the hose and pipes made its way down to all floors, including the basement, according to authorities. Multiple witnesses said some residents were waist- or shoulder-deep in water as they tried to leave.

"It was like a waterfall coming down on you of water," tenant Ryan Lange said. "When I came down to the bottom floor there were people crying, we're trapped, we're trapped we can't get out!"

Some residents said Morales sprayed them with fire hoses as they evacuated the building.

Officers located Morales in the lobby and arrested him on suspicion of vandalism.

"It seemed like somebody was trying to kill everybody in there," Lange said the pain hasn't lessened over the past two days. "I feel like it's unlive-able; it smells like musty and moldy, looks like they're going to have to redo all the carpets and the drywall."

Lange lives in one of the 45 units destroyed by the flood. He said he estimates his losses around $30,000, not including his car.

10News learned more than 200 people and their pets were displaced from the 100-unit complex.

The building was being evaluated for any potential structure damage. The Deputy DA said the building could be condemned.