Mayor Sanders reacts to Colorado movie theater shooting - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Mayor Sanders reacts to Colorado movie theater shooting

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Mayor Jerry Sanders, who coordinated police response to a massacre in San Ysidro 28 years ago, called Friday's shooting that killed 12 at a Colorado theater "a tragic incident."

Sanders commanded the San Diego Police Department's SWAT team during the 1984 McDonald's massacre in San Ysidro shooting where 21 people were killed and 19 injured and gave police snipers permission to fire on the suspect.

He planned to call Steve Hogan, the mayor of Aurora, Colo., the sprawling Denver suburb where Friday's massacre occurred.

"I doubt I'll be able to get him today, but I'll let him know we're thinking about them," Sanders said. "That's one of those things that's unforeseen, pretty rare, but it will really cause some tremendous problems in that community for a while until they come to grips with it."

Sanders said his heart goes out to the families of those killed and those who were injured.

The Colorado shootings took place two days after the 28th anniversary of the San Ysidro massacre. Sanders was a lieutenant in charge of SWAT officers when 41-year-old unemployed security guard James Huberty opened fire on customers at the fast food outlet.

Huberty was armed with an Uzi assault rifle, a shotgun and pistol and fired at patrons until he was felled by a police sniper, who was given permission to fire by Sanders.

Sanders was at a reception in Mission Valley when the gunman went into the restaurant, and it took almost a half-hour for him to be informed because his pager was broken, according to media reports. He arrived at the scene and gave snipers the "green light" to fire about an hour after the incident started.

Sanders later became the chief of the SDPD, and was elected mayor of San Diego in 2005 after stints leading the local branches of the United Way and American Red Cross.

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