Suspect in Chula Vista day-care fire, shooting is led off.
Gustavo Sepulveda is led off by police after the 2017 incident. Image via 10News

A man who pleaded guilty to attempted murder and assault charges for setting fire to his ex-girlfriend’s home day care facility in Chula Vista nearly five years ago and shooting at her while seven children were inside was sentenced to 21 years in state prison Tuesday.

Gustavo Sepulveda, 41, was sentenced for the Oct. 2, 2017, incident at a home on Corte Condesa, when Chula Vista police said Sepulveda tried to set the house on fire and broke a sliding glass door in the back of the property after his ex-girlfriend wouldn’t let him in.

Sepulveda opened fire toward the woman while one of the ex-girlfriend’s day care workers took seven children — ranging in ages from 1 to 8 years old — to a bathroom, police said. None of the children was physically hurt.

Sepulveda’s defense attorney, Christine Basic, said in court that her client was remorseful and ashamed for what happened, which she said was the result of a mental health delusion he was suffering from on the day of the incident.

The attorney said her client has suffered from mental health issues throughout his life.

Basic said Sepulveda’s delusion stemmed from a dispute with his ex-girlfriend’s relatives, the details of which were not disclosed in court. Though the attempted murder count pertains to his ex-girlfriend, the attorney said Sepulveda’s actions “had nothing to do with (his ex-girlfriend) or the children, even though they were the ones who were affected.”

Sepulveda did not make a statement in open court, but Basic read a letter he wrote to the victims, in which he said, “I endangered either your lives or the lives of your loved ones. I inflicted a terror that is unimaginable. I can never take that back. I wish I could.”

His letter continued, “I was reacting to a delusion that I firmly believed was real. My intention was the destruction of property and the fact that I put lives at danger did not process in my mind.”

City News Service contributed to this article.



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Ellen Bullock