SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Accounts vary of the high-seas naval clash with Somali pirates that led to the death of four Americans and included a rocket-propelled grenade fired at the San Diego-based destroyer USS Sterett.
According to the Navy, the San Diego-based destroyer USS Sterett had been shadowing a private 58-foot sailboat Quest since it was taken in open waters off Oman on Friday, and on Tuesday, Navy SEALs boarded the vessel amid small-arms fire in response to the grenade attack.
The grenade missed the ship and no Navy personnel were injured, but four Americans were found fatally shot aboard the sailboat - Jean and Scott Adams of Marina del Rey and their sailing mates, Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle.
Military forces also found two pirates already dead and killed two more, according to the Navy.
But, the pirates offered a different account.
Liban Muse, a member of the pirate group involved in the incident, told the Los Angeles Times in a telephone interview from the Somali coast that the U.S. military fired first.
"We had no intention of killing the hostages until the Americans began shooting at us," Muse said. "Our preference is only to take ships and ransom money, not to kill. But governments are targeting and killing our people."
Lt. Col. Mike Lawhorn, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, part of an international coalition of anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean, dismissed those claims, according to the newspaper.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen pirates from the incident were in U.S. custody Wednesday and are expected to face prosecution.
For years, the Gulf of Aden has grown increasingly dangerous. Somalia has been in anarchy for years, with pirates taking dozens of ships - even oil tankers and container ships - and hundreds of hostages.
The Adams, who had been cruising for more than six years, were devout Catholics and had been distributing Bibles around the world. Their daughter, Emily Elizabeth Sem, who lives in Escondido, issued a statement through the FBI Tuesday night.
"Our loved ones were tragically taken from us and our hearts are broken," she said. "While we wish to grieve in private, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the brave men and women of the Navy and other military branches who risked their lives trying to save them.
"We would also like to thank the FBI and State Department for their swift and kind treatment of this matter. Our hearts also go out to the families of Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay. We cannot thank you all enough."
The Encinitas Planning Commission on Thursday will vote on the next phase of a contentious project meant to improve access to Beacon’s Beach.
Comic-Con International, again expected to draw a wide array of fans of the popular arts, conducts its annual preview night at the San Diego Convention Center Wednesday night.
Goat yoga may be all the rage, but the San Diego Humane Society is giving people the change to stretch out with adorable furry critters – cats!
Over 130,000 pop culture devotees will come to San Diego's Gaslamp District for the annual four-day comic book convention Comic-Con, the big, bright and very heavily branded confab of costumed superfans and the corporate sponsors vying for their attention — and dollars.
There is a renewed call for protective barriers along the State Route 56 bike path where, in some sections, only a chain-link fence separates bike riders from freeway traffic.
Some tennis experts say San Diego native, Taylor Fritz is the best hope to be America's next great tennis star.
A citywide wellness program is in the works to offer San Diegans free health-related classes. Dozens of workshops will be held each year at libraries and recreation centers, according to the City of San Diego.
Major traffic is expected to start Wednesday evening as Comic-Con kicks off with preview night in Downtown San Diego. MTS officials are encouraging attendees to use public transportation and got into the SDCC spirit with an homage to the "Stranger Things."
A 28-year-old man died Wednesday after he was found shot in a car in San Diego's University Heights neighborhood, police said.
Dogs can be a man's best friend, but also a criminal's worst nightmare. In Wednesday's Zevely Zone, Jeff is in Miramar at the sheriff's K-9 training academy with the new recruits.