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Governor’s office announces $50,000 rewards in two unsolved San Diego homicides

The search for answers to two unrelated and unsolved homicides in San Diego that occurred five years ago got a boost Friday when Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced $50,000 rewards for information leading to an arrest and a conviction.

The victims were Gregory Izik Ruffin Jr., 22, shot to death on a Lincoln Park sidewalk, and Lamontee Stevenson, a 19-year-old Navy sailor killed while breaking up a fight at a party in Logan Heights.

Gregory Ruffin Jr.

(San Diego County Crime Stoppers)

Law enforcement agencies have long been able to ask the governor’s office to help them solve cases by offering rewards to tipsters. The San Deigo cases are among four that Newsom’s office chose to highlight last week.

San Diego police homicide officer Lt. Steve Shebolski said that for a case to be investigated, investigators must have exhausted all their leads.

“These two cases are at the point where we have no leads to investigate and we are asking for the public’s help,” Shebloski said.

Navy Sailor Lamontee Stevenson

Navy Sailor Lamontee Stevenson

(San Diego County Crime Stoppers)

Police hope the large reward will persuade someone to come forward.

“In both of these cases, we are confident that there were witnesses who saw something or know something about it,” Shebloski said.

Ruffin was found shortly after 11 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2019, after someone called to report a man near an apartment complex on 47th Street near Castana Street. The police and emergency services found him lying on the sidewalk. He was shot in the upper body and died instantly.

In a nearly three-minute YouTube video highlighting the case, San Diego police said Ruffin visited a friend at the Creekside Villas. While he was on the sidewalk leaving the complex, someone opened fire on him, shooting several times. A bullet hit him.

In the video, Ruffin’s father, Greg, said the impact of the death of his son – who he called Izik, his middle name – had been traumatic. “So many questions about why something crazy like this would happen when he wasn’t involved in any gang activity,” the father said.

Stevenson, a Navy sailor, was fatally shot Aug. 17, 2019, at a house party on Marcy Avenue near Kearney Avenue. San Diego police said Stevenson’s friend got into an argument with a man at the party and the fight turned physical. When Stevenson tried to arrest him, the man shot Stevenson several times. The shooter fled.

Known as “Montee,” Stevenson was a native of Akron, Ohio. He was a standout high school football player, scoring three straight years and winning city championships twice, according to his obituary. He graduated from high school in 2018. Before the end of the year, he enlisted.

In the days after Stevenson’s death, East High School football coach Marques Hayes told the Akron Beacon Journal that Stevenson was never in trouble, that he was “just a guy who fun-loving, fun-loving spirit, you know – always smiling. .”

The newspaper reports that Stevenson’s death came a little more than two years after his 24-year-old brother was fatally shot outside his Akron home.

Anyone with information about the deaths of Ruffin or Stevenson was asked to contact San Diego Police Detective Sgt. Geoff DeCesari of the department’s homicide unit at (619) 531-2943.

Anonymous tips can be shared by calling Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 or online at sdcrimestoppers.org.

California Daily Newspapers

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