Navy sailor killed during Horton Plaza mall shooting

Murder at mall triggers terror for Vietnam vet
Posted at 11:46 AM, Jun 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-12 20:16:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)--Gunfire tore through Horton Plaza around 11:45 p.m. on Saturday striking and killing a local Navy sailor and wounding his cousin, according to the San Diego Police Department. 

Two men approached James Celani, 43, of San Diego and his younger cousin and opened fire, striking Celani multiple times in the chest, authorities said. 

Police said the cousin, a Riverside man, also suffered a non-life threatening injury to his leg. 


It happened outside a comedy club.

We talked to a Vietnam veteran who was caught in the chaos. He survived being a POW in Vietnam, but he could not shake what happened over the weekend on home soil. Click on the video for George's emotional testimony after bullets drew bloodshed. 

Celani's cousin, David, shared this statement: 

Jimmy was always a goal driven person. He was always so level headed and focused on what he wanted. Since we were kids he talked about flying jet planes. Both of our dads worked in the aerospace industry and Jimmy loved the jets. He worked hard and became a pilot at a young age. He attended the officer training academy in Florida and enlisted in the Navy. Though he was passed up for flying jets, he was trained to fly helicopters. I remember him telling me about some of his training maneuvers and what he could make the helicopter do with such a spark of genuine joy. He loved to fly and he loved being in the military. 
Jimmy was a real family man and friend. His family meant the world to him and so did his friends. Everyone who knew Jim knew they could count on him no matter what. He always put the feelings of others before his own and went out of his way to make sure everyone was comfortable. 
There is definitely a void in all of us now that Jimmy is gone. Our tears and pain are duel purpose. Both for our loss, but also our gratitude for the time we did get to spend with Jimmy the man, the son, the brother, the friend, the dad, the husband, the cousin and the hero. So many lives touched by one true soul.