Man who opened fire into a San Diego Asian restaurant pleads guilty to assault charges

The man who opened fire into an Asian restaurant in Hillcrest, San Diego, with a semiautomatic rifle in 2019 pleaded guilty on Thursday.

Going to prison: Stefano Parker, 32, pleaded guilty to five charges of assault with a semiautomatic firearm for the incident that took place outside The Asian Bistro on University Avenue in February 2019, according to NBC San Diego.

  • Parker faced a potential life imprisonment sentence for a dozen counts of attempted murder before pleading guilty, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Due to his plea, he will instead receive 49 years of jail time.

  • The suspect, who admitted to having a 2006 murder conviction in Alabama where he received a 20-year sentence but only served four years, was not charged with hate crime allegations for the 2019 shooting, Times of San Diego noted.

What happened: Parker was wearing a trench coat when he fired 20 shouts outside The Asian Bistro at around 7 p.m. on the night of the incident, forcing diners and restaurant staff to duck for cover.

  • He injured no one and calmly fled the scene, authorities said. He was arrested in an alley shortly after the shooting.

  • While no motives for the shooting were revealed, police said they discovered a homophobic post on Parker’s social media before the incident. The neighborhood where The Asian Bistro is located is known for its LGBTQ+ community, NBC San Diego reported in 2019.

  • The owner of the restaurant didn't recognize Parker, but a family member of his saw Parker a weekend before this incident fighting with a group of Asian Americans outside the restaurant. "He was just mumbling something incoherent and giving me a weird look and gave me a weird feeling so I was like, screw this and went back inside the restaurant," the family member said.

  • “We pride ourselves on being a very diverse city that celebrates unique culture,” then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in a press conference. “That is never going to change. We will stand together to denounce violence, and we will stand together to support our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community.”

Featured Image via Faleo San Diego (left), Jason Piccolo's The Protectors (right)

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