Residents Begin to Reflect on the Park Place Killings

Locals say the recent deaths in Coronado have attracted a lot of attention because they are anomalies, not symbols of increasing danger.


Coronado, the dream destination for so many, whether they are settling down or traveling, continues to face its second unnerving investigation in less than six months.

Yet has begun to wear off, and those who live near the Park Place condominium where they died have begun to reflect.

Mayor Casey Tanaka spoke for many Coronadans when he said, “I feel terrible for the families impacted by this violence and I pray for the quick healing of their minds and hearts.”

For the community at large, the deaths of the four young people – two from the Navy, all between the ages of 24 and 31 – was just that: A devastating loss, but something that could have happened anywhere.

That it happened in such an intimate, well-heeled, and generally safe enclave has drawn attention to Coronado yet again, following the July discovery of .

Detectives ruled her death a suicide after seven weeks of investigation. They have yet to release details of what led to Sunday's shootings of the three men and one woman.

Realtor Michael Napolitano pondered the question: Has Coronado ever faced two such noteworthy investigations in such close proximity? 

“Never in my lifetime here,” he answered.

Both the Park Place and Spreckels investigation scenes are within easy walking distance of each other, and Jefferson Alison, who lives near Spreckels, said “this is a small community and in a small community this is a big event.” 

Yet for him, nothing about Zahau's death, nor the latest tragedies, have “changed the character of the community.”

One part of that character is discretion. Several people Patch approached for this article declined to give their names, though they were not beng critical. One said, ”It can happen anywhere,” before adding, ”This is still the safest place.”

Rita Sarich, whose organization, Coronado MainStreet Ltd., works to preserve the the quaint feel of the local shopping strip, agreed with the sentiment.

“Violence is everywhere. You can’t take a vaccine for it, I wish you could but you can’t,” she said.

Long-time Coronado resident Barbara James, however, said there are lessons that can be taken from the deaths.

”If this has taught us anything, it's that we need to be more open to our neighbors. We need to establish a sense of community.

”If you want this special place, then you have to keep it special,” she continued. ”It's not up to the government or police – it's up to us.”


Jennifer Vigil and Melissa Phy contributed to this report.


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