Jealously eyed for possible role in Coronado murder-suicide - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Jealously eyed for possible role in Coronado murder-suicide

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David Reis (pictured right) was killed by a gunshot wound to the torso, and his 24-year-old sister, Karen (left) suffered a gunshot wound to the head and chest. David Reis (pictured right) was killed by a gunshot wound to the torso, and his 24-year-old sister, Karen (left) suffered a gunshot wound to the head and chest.
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  • Navy pilot killed self in Coronado murder-suicide

    Navy pilot killed self in Coronado murder-suicide

    Thursday, January 5 2012 2:56 AM EST2012-01-05 07:56:35 GMT
    A New Year's Day shooting that left four people dead at a condominium near San Diego was a murder-suicide involving a 25-year-old Navy pilot who killed himself, officials said Wednesday. 
    A New Year's Day shooting that left four people dead at a condominium near San Diego was a murder-suicide involving a 25-year-old Navy pilot who killed himself, officials said Wednesday. 

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Investigators trying to determine the motive behind a New Year's Day murder-suicide involving two Navy pilots and two other people were looking Thursday at whether jealousy might have played a role.

Authorities were looking at all aspects of what could have led up to the gunfire at a Coronado condominium, including whether there was a relationship or romantic feelings between the Navy pilot who committed suicide and the sister of the other pilot who died, sheriff's Capt. Duncan Fraser said.

John Robert Reeves shot himself in the head, and the three other people with him, including the sister, were murdered. They included Navy pilot David Reis, Karen Reis and Matthew Saturley.

"We are looking into all aspects, including the possibility there was some type of relationship between Karen Reis and John Reeves but that has not been confirmed yet," Fraser said. "That is one reason why we are still soliciting information from the public who may know about this."

Authorities also were awaiting toxicology results to see if drugs or alcohol might have played a role.

Fraser, however, cautioned that investigators might never determine the motive because there were no eyewitnesses to the 2 a.m. shooting at the condo where David Reis and Reeves lived with another Navy pilot who was out of town at the time.

Reeves and David Reis went out to a nightclub on New Year's Eve with another unnamed friend. At the club, they met Saturley then returned to Coronado.

Reeves went into the condo first followed by Karen Reis and Saturley, Fraser said. David Reis stayed outside to chat with the unnamed friend before the gunfire erupted. Reis rushed inside as the friend called 911.

Reeves, 25, of Prince Frederick, Md., and David Reis, also 25, of Bakersfield, were both training as F/A-18 fighter pilots assigned to the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 of the Third Marine Aircraft Wing at nearby Miramar Air Station.

The two Naval officers were in their final rung of training. Reeves had moved into the condo a few months ago, Fraser said.

The tragedy has rocked the tight-knit community of Naval aviators and the picturesque peninsula of Coronado, an enclave of 24,000 just across San Diego Bay that recorded only one homicide in 2010.

Fraser said there were no outstanding suspects in the case but declined to say if Reeves was the shooter.

"We don't have forensic evidence yet to say that definitively," he said.

Reeves' family members could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Reis siblings were close friends. Karen Reis, 24, graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2009, and coached volleyball twice a week to children 12 and younger. Saturley was a 31-year-old resident of Chula Vista.

Retired Naval pilot Steve Diamond said the case is shocking because it involves such high achievers.

"The first thing that most people think of even within the Navy community is how could such an enormously tragic thing happen involving people ... who are the cream of the crop, highly trained, highly educated, national assets basically," he said.

It takes years of training to get one's wings as a Navy pilot, and fighter-jet pilots are considered to be among the top in that group.

They undergo a battery of rigorous physical, psychological and background tests before finishing the highly competitive program. Their top-notch skills and mental toughness were featured in the movie "Top Gun" — parts of which were filmed at Miramar.

"I will tell you that Naval aviation will hurt regardless of what anybody finds out about anything because they're all close, because you go through a tough, rigorous kind of a ritual," said Ernie Christensen, a retired rear admiral who commanded the Navy's Top Gun fighter school for a time in the 1980s.


THIS IS AN UPDATE TO A PREVIOUS STORY. The original story is below.

 

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The two Navy fighter-jet pilots were in their prime, having made the cut into one of the military's most competitive programs.

Their deaths in a murder-suicide on New Year's Day has rocked the tight-knit community of Naval aviators as investigators try to find out what happened in the condominium on the picturesque peninsula of Coronado, an enclave of 24,000 just across the bay of San Diego that recorded only one homicide in 2010.

There were no eyewitnesses, investigators say, and they have found no motive yet for the eruption in gunfire that also killed one of the pilot's sisters and a 31-year-old man the group had just befriended at a nightclub only hours before the incident.

John Robert Reeves, 25, shot himself in the head, and the three others with him were murdered, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said, citing autopsy results. Fellow Navy pilot David Reis, also 25, was killed by a gunshot wound to the torso, and his 24-year-old sister, Karen, suffered a gunshot wound to the head and chest, officials said. Matthew Saturley, 31, of suburban Chula Vista, was shot multiple times.

Sheriff's Capt. Duncan Fraser said there were no outstanding suspects in the case, and police have found no evidence indicating there was an exchange of gunfire, although he declined to say if Reeves was the shooter, explaining that "we don't have forensic evidence yet to say that definitively."

Reeves, of Prince Frederick, Md., and Reis, of Bakersfield, Calif., were both training as F/A-18 fighter pilots assigned to the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 of the Third Marine Aircraft Wing at nearby Miramar Air Station.

Retired Naval pilot Steve Diamond said the case is shocking because it involves such high achievers.

"The first thing that most people think of even within the Navy community is how could such an enormously tragic thing happen involving people ... who are the cream of the crop, highly trained, highly educated, national assets basically," he said.

It takes years of training to get one's wings as a Navy pilot, and fighter-jet pilots are considered to be among the top in that group. They undergo a battery of rigorous physical, psychological and background tests before finishing the highly competitive program, Navy officials said. Their top-notch skills and mental toughness were featured in Hollywood's "Top Gun" — parts of which were filmed at Miramar.

The two Naval officers were in the final rung of that training.

"The hardest thing you ever do in aviation is carrier landing aboard a ship at sea, so these guys were the pick of the litter," said Ernie Christensen, a retired rear admiral and former Vietnam fighter pilot who commanded the Navy's Top Gun fighter school for a time in the 1980s.

"I will tell you that Naval aviation will hurt regardless of what anybody finds out about anything because they're all close, because you go through a tough, rigorous kind of a ritual," he added.

Reeves' family members could not be immediately reached for comment.

The two Navy pilots lived at the condominium with another Navy pilot who was out of town at the time. Friends and family members say they were not aware of any problems in the household, investigators said.

Military officials have been assisting the investigation but would provide no details on the two pilots, saying it was too early to do so in the probe.

Authorities were awaiting toxicology results to see if drugs or alcohol might have played a role.

Reeves moved in to the condo a few months ago, Fraser said.

The two Navy pilots and Karen Reis went out to a nightclub on New Year's Eve with another unnamed friend, Fraser said. At the club, they met Saturley and returned to Coronado. When the gunshots rang out, the friend was talking to David Reis outside the condo, Fraser said. Reis rushed inside and the friend stayed outside and called 911.

David Reis' body was found near the entryway, Fraser said. The other three were found on the third floor of the condo, including two in the bedroom and one on a landing. Investigators seized four guns; none appeared to be a military firearm, Fraser said.

Saturley attended the University of Maryland, earning a bachelor's degree in economics, before studying for a master's at MIT's Sloan School of Management, according to U-T San Diego. He has a 5-year-old daughter and had filed for divorce from his wife of nearly six years just three days before his death, U-T San Diego reported.

The Reis siblings were close friends, their parents say. His sister, Karen, 24, graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2009, and coached volleyball twice a week to children 12 and younger.

Karen's absence will be greatly felt by those who came in contact with the "selfless young woman" who loved to play sports and sing in her car. David was Karen's "knight in shining armor," the family said in a statement Wednesday.

"We will miss David tremendously, but take solace knowing that he is now forever flying in flawless formation across eternity, with Karen on his wing," the family said.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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