ENCINITAS — A local coffee shop owner was shot and injured and another person was wounded following an altercation Thursday morning involving a transient man who had been asked to leave the business located in the 400 block of South Coast Highway 101.
The suspect believed to have fired the gun, 31-year-old Jmar Tarafa, was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon and brandishing a firearm in a threatening manner, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Matthew Delarosa, owner of Ironsmith Coffee Roasters, and Tarafa are believed to have gotten into an argument in the alley behind the coffee shop around 8 a.m. after the owner asked the suspect to leave the business.
According to Lt. Christopher Lawrence, the argument escalated into a physical fight and Delarosa pulled out a firearm that was on his person.
During the struggle, the gun was fired once and Delarosa was grazed by the bullet on the back of his head and a bystander was hit in the leg with shrapnel, according to the Sheriff’s release, which also noted it was unclear who actually fired the gun during the incident.
Tarafa then took hold of the gun, prompting Delarosa to flee to a nearby fire station. According to Lawrence, Tarafa pointed the gun briefly at firefighters, but then placed it on the ground before he was detained.
Lawrence said Tarafa is believed to have fired the gun, which is why he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. However, the department is still trying to obtain surveillance footage from nearby vehicles to make sense of exactly what happened.
“We have two sides to a story here,” Lawrence said. “Right now, it’s really just between Jmar’s statement and the shop owner’s, and with surveillance footage, possibly a third narrative will emerge.”
Footage from the coffee shop’s surveillance camera did not provide a view of the incident, according to Lawrence. Delarosa is not facing any charges at this time. Lawrence said the case will now go to the District Attorney’s Office.
“Being a business owner, you’re allowed to carry a firearm in your business,” Lawrence said.
Both Delarosa and the bystander were treated for their injuries and are believed to have returned home, Lawrence said.
Marco San Antonio, owner of One Day Signs directly next door to Ironsmith, said Tarafa had frequently been sitting at one of the coffee shop’s outdoor tables without ever buying anything since the summer.
According to San Antonio, Tarafa would also occasionally speak loudly to himself or be seen with sharp objects like knives.
“(Tafara’s) definitely been outside quite a bit before,” San Antonio said. “Was I surprised it was him? No. But was I surprised to hear about the whole incident? Yes. We live in a pretty sleepy town, especially along the 101, you just generally don’t hear about anything like that happening here.”
According to arrest logs, Tarafa had been arrested back in June on suspicion of felony burglary at a residence in Encinitas.
CORRECTION: A previous version incorrectly stated the victim was shot by either a bullet or shrapnel. The Sheriff’s Department release states the victim’s head was grazed by a bullet.
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