Helping a Neighbor During a Tragic Incident

One neighbor hears gunshots behind his home. He grabs his badge and gun and heads in the direction of the sounds. He’s an off-duty San Diego police sergeant and Scripps Ranch resident. Another resident is driving down Angelique Street and sees a man lying in the middle of the street. He thinks the man has been hit by a car. He stops to see if he could help just as the sergeant pulls up to the scene.

The sergeant is Scott Bartolomei, and the driver is 19-year-old Bill Feather. Pictured on the cover, both are neighbors who came to the aid of a resident after a terrifying shooting on Feb. 10.

Scott showed his badge and told Bill he was an off-duty officer. Scott was worried that the gunman was still in the area. Of course, he was concerned about the victim as well. But Scott didn’t know that the person who was shot was his friend, Kyle Kraska—CBS News 8 sports director—until he heard him call out, “Scott, help me.” When he looked closer, he saw the friend he had just worked out with less than an hour earlier.

While keeping an eye out for the gunman, Scott instructed Bill to call 911 and told him what to say to the dispatcher. Meanwhile, he tried to figure out how to help Kyle. Another neighbor had already brought towels. Scott talked to his friend and tried to keep him calm, telling him he was going to be all right.

Kyle was conscious and told Scott who allegedly shot him. Scott was familiar with the suspect, a painter who had worked on Scott’s street. This was critical for police who were able to let the public know to look out for the suspect, Mike Montana. He was arrested hours after the shooting in El Cajon, where he had been living. Police were tipped off by one of Montana’s neighbors who saw the alert on television.

It was an emotional situation for both Scott and Bill. While Scott had dealt with critical situations many times before, both in the military and as a police officer, this time the victim was a friend. Scott said the incident was surreal, and it will take awhile for him to process what happened.

Even though Bill is a freelance news photographer, it’s not often he comes across a tragedy where a fellow resident has been shot. While the incident will stay with both of them, they say they are glad they were there to help.

Prosecutors say Kyle was ambushed and shot six times. As of press time, he was in critical but stable condition after a number of surgeries. Prayers and good wishes poured in for his speedy recovery.

Kyle hired the suspect to paint his house last year. According to prosecutors, the motive for the shooting has to do with a financial dispute over that paint job. A friend of Kyle’s told CBS News 8 that Kyle did not owe the suspect any money. Montana pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted murder. If convicted he faces more than 37 years in prison.

The shooting shocked much of the Scripps Ranch community, where these events are extremely rare. In fact, just two days after the shooting, the SDPD released statistics from last year that show the Miramar Ranch North area—where the shooting took place—is one of the top five safest neighborhoods in San Diego. For the latest on this story, please visit the SRCA website at www.scrippsranch.org and the SRCA Facebook page.

Neighborhood Watch: Casing Your Home?

We heard from many Scripps Ranch Civic Association (SRCA) Neighborhood Watch (NW) members about “lurkers” possibly studying homeowners’ routines and using that knowledge to break into a home. We sent an eblast to our subscribers describing a burglary attempt during the 15–20 minutes one homeowner was gone. Luckily, the sound of the garage door opening upon her return scared the suspect away.

Please call the San Diego Police Department nonemergency line at 484-3154 and report suspicious people so police can document the incident and contact the suspects if they are still in the area. If these loiterers realize residents are reporting them, they will most likely leave the area.

Reduce your chances of being a burglary victim. Use common sense and stay on guard. Form a NW group on your street. Please see www.scrippsranch.org/watch for details. If you have questions, email us at [email protected]

Clarification: In January’s SRCA Newsletter, we told you about some neighbors’ electrical panel boxes being tampered with during the night, cutting off electricity to their houses. We suggested you lock your panel box. We have since discovered that if you call SDG&E at 800-411-7343, you can request one of their locks for which they have a master key. They will mail you a lock and key. We checked with Fire Station 37 about locked boxes in the event of a fire. If they come across a locked box, they use bolt cutters to cut the lock.

Cheryl Shaw, SRCANW Chair

Firebreak Maintenance

We learned last year that wildfire season can begin in the spring. Wildland grasses and weeds—flash-fire fuel—sprout in March, grow several feet high, and begin turning brown by mid-May.

Before the 2003 Cedar Fire there was little if any effort to mitigate the wildfire danger in and around urban areas. But over the next five years residents in 26 Scripps Ranch neighborhoods adjacent to dangerous open space pooled their resources and established 100-foot defensible spaces between their homes and the wildfire fuel.

Folks who attended our Wildfire Exposition last August heard from first responders and saw displays on how to prepare for wildfires. All were unified in one theme: Protect your homes and neighborhoods by removing volatile fire fuel and creating 100-foot defensible spaces.

Who is responsible for creating and maintaining defensible spaces? The owners of the property containing the fire fuel. It might be a homeowners association, the city, your neighbor, or you! If you are uncertain, we can help. Email the address to us at [email protected], and we will send you a map of your neighborhood that will answer the question.

If it is HOA property, contact your HOA manager. Most Scripps Ranch HOAs do a terrific job of brush management. If it is your neighbor’s property and the owner is unwilling to meet the responsibility, call 619-533-4444 to report the hazard.

If you live next to city open space, city crews have probably “treated” the area in the last few years. The city has done an excellent job in Scripps Ranch of creating defensible space. But there is not enough funding for city crews to maintain every firebreak each year. If an area has not been treated within the past two years, chances are it is in need of brush removal now.

The next scheduled period of city brush abatement in Scripps Ranch is June 25 to Dec. 4. If you feel your city-owned defensible space area needs work before this period and you are willing to finance that safety measure, call 619-685-1313 and ask for a Right of Entry Request form.

Enjoy a Popular Musical

Looking for a fun night out in Scripps Ranch? Come see a fabulous performance of Legally Blonde Jr.! produced by the Marshall Middle School choral music department and directed by MMS choral director, Katherine Girvin (cast below).

The shortened junior version is based on the award-winning Broadway musical Legally Blonde. The original show was adapted from the popular movie that follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery, and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. This version has been adapted for younger performers and audience members.

The performances are Tuesday through Friday, Mar. 3–6, at 6 pm in the MMS theater. There is a matinee on Saturday, Mar. 7, at noon. Tickets are on sale in the MMS financial office. General admission is $7 to $10. Pending availability, tickets can be purchased at the door. Enjoy an exciting performance that is sure to amaze!

Community Garage Sale

The popular Community Garage Sale is on Saturday, Apr. 18, from 7:30 am to noon. Each spring Coldwell Banker Residential generously sponsors this event.

If you are a seller and want your address on the garage sale map, please call 621-5294 by noon on Thursday, Apr. 16. Garage sale signs may be picked up at the Coldwell Banker office at 9872 Hibert Drive, Suite D-4 near Trader Joe’s starting the first week in April. If you are a shopper, you can get maps at Coldwell Banker starting at 7:15 am that Saturday.

The following week—Saturday, Apr. 25—is spring Clean-Up Day. We’ll have more details next month.

Grand Reopening!

On Saturday, Mar. 14, the Scripps Ranch Farmers Market will showcase its newly remodeled market. After 13½ years we want to create a place that resembles a French open-air market. There will be live entertainers, farmers, artists and crafters, fabulous fresh food, upscale jewelry designers, home décor, and more.

This is a family market where children are welcome. Join the fun! The Scripps Ranch Farmers Market is open every Saturday, rain or shine, from 9 am to 1:30 pm at 10380 Spring Canyon Road.

Celebration of Hope

Relay For Life of Scripps Ranch invites our survivors and caregivers to enjoy a special program with music, inspiration, and refreshments. Please join us for this free event in your honor on Saturday, Apr. 11, from 10 to 11:30 am at the SRCA Community Center, 11885 Cypress Canyon Road. Please RSVP to Prima Bernabe at [email protected] or 353-3800. For details on the 2015 Relay For Life event, visit www.RelayForLife.org/ScrippsRanchCA or the Relay For Life of Scripps Ranch Facebook page.