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Suspect pleads not guilty to killing wife and male companion in downtown San Diego apartment shooting

Ali Abulaban was charged with the murders of his wife and her male companion on Oct 21 in East Village high-rise apartment building.

SAN DIEGO — The suspect in the fatal shooting of two people at an East Village high-rise apartment complex was arraigned Monday afternoon in a downtown San Diego courtroom and entered a plea of not guilty to all counts and allegations.

Ali Abulaban, 29, was booked into jail on two counts of first-degree murder. This after a man and a 28-year-old woman were found shot to death in the woman's apartment at 1475 Island Avenue Thursday, October 21.

SDPD identified the female victim as Ali's wife, Ana Abulaban, 28.  The male victim has been identified as Rayburn Cardenas Barron, 29, of National City.  

Abulaban’s 5-year-old daughter was with him when he was arrested, however, she was not present at the time of the shooting according to SDPD Lt. Andra Brown. The daughter is now currently with family.

WATCH: Double homicide suspect enters not guilty plea in San Diego court

San Diego police officers first responded to the scene after receiving a call around 3:10 p.m. reporting a shooting with two people struck and found the man and woman at the scene with gunshot wounds to their upper bodies in the living room in one of the units on the 35th floor. They were pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. 

SDPD detectives investigated the shooting and determined the man who reported the shooting, later identified as Ali Abulaban, was also a resident of the apartment who fled the scene after making the report, according to SDPD Lt. Andra Brown. He was later spotted by officers on eastbound State Route 94 and he was stopped on northbound Interstate 15 at Interstate 805 where he was detained and questioned about the incident. 

According to Deputy District Attorney Taren Brast, Ana Abulaban was attempting to leave the marriage, in part due to a prior domestic violence incident in which her husband pushed her.

On Oct. 18, Ana Abulaban asked her husband to move out of their apartment, but according to Brast, he secretly made a copy of the apartment key.

Brast said that while his wife was away, he used the copied key to enter the apartment on Oct. 21, vandalized the unit, then installed an app on his daughter's iPad that allowed him to monitor live conversations inside the apartment.

When he later heard his wife and another man in the apartment over the app, the prosecutor said he drove to the complex from a Mission Bay hotel where he was staying and shot both victims.

After fleeing the scene, Abulaban picked his daughter up from her school and at some point told her that he "hurt Mommy," Brast said. The child is now in the care of other family members.

Abulaban remains held in custody without bail and is due back in court Thursday for a status conference. 

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