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Coronado killings that claimed 2 Navy pilots apparent murder-suicide

A Navy pilot committed suicide after apparently killing three other people in a Coronado apartment during a night of New Year's Eve celebrating.

January 05, 2012|By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
  • Karen Reis hugs her brother, David, at a Navy ceremony. The two were among four people found shot dead at a Coronado apartment early Sunday.
Karen Reis hugs her brother, David, at a Navy ceremony. The two were among…

Reporting from San Diego — A Navy pilot committed suicide after apparently killing three other people in a Coronado apartment during a night of New Year's Eve celebrating, according to information released Wednesday by San Diego County authorities.

John Robert Reeves, 25, an F/A-18 Hornet pilot in training at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, killed himself with a gunshot to the head, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and medical examiner.

The other three people killed — Navy pilot David Reis, 25; his sister, Karen, 24; and Matthew Christopher Saturley, 31, of Chula Vista — are listed as homicide victims.

Reeves and the Reises had met Saturley for the first time just hours earlier at a nightspot in the Gaslamp district of San Diego, according to sheriff's Capt. Duncan Fraser. The four then went to the Coronado apartment shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday.

While David Reis remained outside the apartment talking to an unidentified person, shots rang out inside the apartment about 2:20 a.m., Fraser said. Reis ran inside and was fatally shot near the front door.

Hours later, when sheriff's deputies entered the apartment, they found the three other bodies. There was no exchange of gunfire and only one weapon appears to have been used.

Still, authorities are unable to discern a motive. Fraser, speaking at a news conference, said any suggestion that Reeves was enraged by attention shown by Karen Reis to Saturley is only speculation. Saturley and his wife had recently filed for divorce, according to court documents.

"At this point we do not have a motive for these shootings," Fraser said. "There were no eyewitnesses."

Reeves and David Reis, both lieutenants junior grade, were roommates. Karen Reis worked at a San Diego grocery store and was a volleyball coach at San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas.

Saturley, on social media sites, is identified as a financial analyst, a graduate of the University of Maryland and MIT, and the father of two children.

David Reis died from a gunshot to the torso, Karen Reis died from shots to the head and chest, and Saturley died from multiple gunshots.

Authorities declined to describe the man to whom Reis was speaking outside the apartment when the shots were heard. The man called 911 and did not enter the apartment, Fraser said.

"He is not a suspect," Fraser said.

The investigation, including forensic analysis and witness interviews, is continuing and expected to take weeks, the Sheriff's Department said. Four weapons were found in the apartment; all are being tested.

David and Karen Reis were from Bakersfield; Reeves was from Prince Frederick, Md. Reeves graduated from Pennsylvania State University, Reis from the University of New Mexico and Karen Reis from UC San Diego.

"Our condolences go out to the families, friends, fellow service members and Coronado community during this time of mourning," said Lt. Col. Robert Brodie, commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 at Miramar.

tony.perry@latimes.com

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