Update: Officials Call Condo Deaths Homicide, Suicide

They stop short, however, of saying the man who shot himself killed the others; loved ones and friends also recall the dead, including the final victim to be named, Matthew C. Saturley.


Update, 10:30 p.m., new version incorporates earlier updates, along with observations about John Robert Reeves and Matthew C. Saturley, two of the dead.

Loved ones and friends of continued the struggle to come to terms with the deaths Wednesday, as Sheriff's investigators established a murder-suicide scenario without directly pointing a finger at the killer.

Sheriffs investigators said Wednesday that one of the men who resided at the condominium, Navy Lt. John Robert Reeves, 25, shot himself in the head, while three others,  Lt. David Reis, his sister Karen, and a man they had just met, Matthew C. Saturley, were homicide victims.

“We don't know who committed the homicides,” Capt. Duncan Fraser said at a news briefing at Sheriffs headquarters, but he released a number of details:

  • David Reis had been conversing with a fifth man outside the condo he shared with Reeves, when he heard gunfire. He went inside, while the witness, an unnamed friend, fled. That man called police. Reis was found dead in the first-floor entry. 
  • The group had been celebrating New Year's at a San Diego lounge, where they met Saturley. Of their return to the condo and the shooting, Fraser said, “It all happened very quickly. There was not much of a time gap between those events.”
  • The surviving friend, who never entered the condo, did not hear any words exchanged and no one has indicated that Reeves, the siblings or Saturley, had had a dispute during the evening.
  • Fraser only specified the location of David and Karen Reis' bodies. The two others were found on the third floor, Karen Reis and a man “partially” in the bedroom, and a man on the landing outside.
  • The detective declined to describe if Karen Reis and the man in the bedroom were clothed. “I can't give you any details of what they were wearing,” he said.
  • Four firearms were recovered from the condo, but detectives are awaiting the results of ballistics tests about which were fired. Fraser said there is no sign that there was an exchange of gunfire between the parties.
  • Reeves had recently moved into the condo. A third roommate, who has been interviewed by investigators, was out of town.
  • Fraser said detectives have not found anything to show signs of Reeves' mental state, nor received reports from the Navy that the man was troubled.

David Reis, 25, died of a wound to his torso, while his sister, 24, suffered wounds to her head and chest. Saturley, 31, suffered multiple gunshot wounds, all of which could have been fatal, Fraser said.

Family members have spoken widely of the Reis' siblings interests and ambitions, how David was a Navy pilot and Karen, a UCSD grad who played and coached volleyball, but less had been known about Reeves and Saturley.

Locals described Reeves as a car enthusiast, and . The sentiment turned to dismay, however, as posters learned that Reeves had killed himself in a home where three others had ended up dead.

Some posters also speculated about a possible unrequited interest in Karen Reis. Fraser said investigators don't know if she and Reeves were romantically involved.

Saturley's pastor, Jeff Mears, tweeted Wednesday that the victim was “a great & loving family man.”

Mears, of City Bible Church in Mission Valley, emailed a statement to Patch in the evening, and described Saturley as “a quiet person by nature” and a loving father who remained best friends with his wife, though reports indicate the marriage was ending.  

 “Those of us who were fortunate enough to know Matt knew him as a loving father and as kind of a person as you could meet. Matt loved his family very much. My last personal communication from Matt was just days before his death: He told me that his wife was his best friend. Matt is with his Father in heaven now, a place with more joy and love than we can imagine. Please keep Matt's family in your prayers as they walk through an incredibly difficult time.”

In addition to the ballistics and forensics results, authorities are awaiting findings from toxicology tests, including whether alcohol was involved.

They also continue to ask for tips from anyone who might have information on what led to the deaths. The Homicide Detail can reached at (858) 974- 2321. After hours, call (858) 565-5200 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-TIPS (8477)

Robert Mack January 04, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Thoughts are with the families.
Miriam Raftery January 05, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Hi - One of your earlier stories said Reeves was the one found in the entry area. This story was Reis. Which was in the entry area, and was the person in the entry area the suicide?
Jennifer Vigil January 05, 2012 at 06:36 AM
Miriam, a witness had said it was Reeves, but today detectives said Reis, a victim, was the one in the entry. Reeves shot himself.
Jenna January 05, 2012 at 07:07 AM
It is hard for a Navy person to say whether he/she is troubled. Its hard to relay that to the chain of command. Why aren't the names of the male victims found in the half-bedroom and landing identified? Were there six shots or seven shots discharged? I hope there aren't any more slight, much less major, revisions to the updates...Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.
Jill G January 05, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Jennifer thanks again for your updates as you get them. It can sometimes be hard to get facts at the beginning of an investigation. Takes time for police to sort it all out and they have to be considerate of the victims families. The senario is now starting to take picture. It is sad...four young people with their whole lives and careers ahead of them. My prayers are with the families. New Years Day will never be the same for them.


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