Police and paramedics
Police and paramedics at the scene of one of the shootings in the Gaslamp Quarter. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A man who carried out a shooting spree in the Gaslamp Quarter that left one man dead and four others wounded was sentenced Thursday to multiple life terms in prison.

Travis Fereydoun Sarreshteh, 34, was convicted by a San Diego jury of first-degree murder for the April 22, 2021, shooting death of 28-year-old Justice Boldin, a parking valet who was shot in front of the Pendry San Diego Hotel where he worked.

Sarreshteh was also convicted of the attempted murders of four New Jersey men in a separate shooting outside Gaslamp Pizza, and assault with a semi-automatic firearm for shooting another man who was standing behind the group.

Prosecutors said Sarreshteh wandered around downtown that night, opening fire on random victims with an unserialized “ghost gun,” while Sarreshteh’s defense attorney alleged at trial that police captured the wrong man.

Sarreshteh was sentenced Thursday to four life terms, plus 175 years to life in state prison.

Boldin was the first person shot.

Deputy District Attorney Jessica Paugh said the defendant never exchanged words with Boldin before shooting him once in the chest, and then three more times after the victim collapsed to the ground.

At Sarreshteh’s sentencing hearing, several members of Boldin’s family addressed the court and asked for the maximum possible sentence.

The victim’s mother, Denise Boldin, said, “It is very, very hard to lose a child, especially one that was doing absolutely nothing wrong.”

One of Boldin’s sisters, Samantha Skelton, called Boldin her “best friend,” who “gave me the courage to face anything, all my fears.”

Of Sarreshteh, Skelton said, “The man who decided that (Justice’s) life wasn’t worth it will never understand what it’s like to love, the way that we loved Justice. If he did, he wouldn’t do this.”

Another of Boldin’s sisters, Jordyn Boldin, said her brother was her “confidante.”

“I felt like I could tell him everything and he would never judge me,” she said. She called Sarreshteh “an angry, selfish person” who “will never be even 1% of the man my brother, Justice Parker Boldin, was.”

After killing Boldin, Sarreshteh then walked north on Fifth Avenue, where he passed by a group of European tourists who he demanded salute him, according to Paugh. When one of them did, the prosecutor said he “let them live.” Two women testified that after they heard gunfire ring out near the Pendry hotel, the gunman walked by them in the street and assured them, “Don’t worry, I won’t shoot a girl.”

Later, the shooter approached a group of four men from New Jersey who were vacationing in San Diego and demanded the group get out of his way. After passing the men, Paugh said the shooter asked, “Are you laughing at me?” then opened fire until his gun jammed.

Three of the men were struck by the gunfire, while another man who was not part of the group was also hit.

Sarreshteh was later tackled by two bystanders near Fifth Avenue and Market Street, where officers arrested him and found a handgun in his waistband, according to the prosecutor, who said forensic evidence showed the gun matched spent casings left at both shooting scenes.

Prosecutors presented text messages between Sarreshteh and his girlfriend, in which he told her on April 22 it was “now or never. If you don’t come with me now, then forever hold your peace.”

Paugh also cited an Instagram post Sarreshteh made on the morning of April 22, in which he wrote that it was the “last day” that anyone who owed him money could pay it back or that anyone who had wronged him could apologize.

“After today, you ain’t going to get Travis. He’s dead,” the post read. “I hate him and his loving hurt. It’s hate now, forever and always. This is your last day.”

–City News Service



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Ellen Bullock