A 29-year-old tenant dwelling on Veterans Village of San Diego property was killed June 27 following a confrontation along with her neighbor, based on the San Diego Police Division.
The sufferer was Jennelle Self, an Military veteran with a 2-year-old son. Self had beforehand spoken with inewsource about issues she confronted on the condominium advanced, together with mould in her dwelling house and threatening behaviors by others on the property.
In June, inewsource printed a four-part investigation about Veterans Village, a famend nonprofit that gives housing, employment and habit companies. The reporting uncovered widespread drug use and unsafe dwelling circumstances on the group’s rehab heart on Pacific Freeway.
The condominium advanced in Southeast San Diego the place Self and the suspect had been dwelling was a part of a transitional housing program run by Veterans Village referred to as Welcome Residence Households. This system, funded by the Veterans Administration, offers case administration, remedy and different companies to veterans and their households.
Three staff at Veterans Village, present and former, stated they weren’t shocked to listen to what had occurred, given the state of the transitional housing program.
“It’s sort of like a fireplace, you understand, simply sort of a catastrophe ready to occur,” stated Susanne Haman, a former therapist at Veterans Village who labored with tenants within the condominium advanced.
Haman stated the residents wanted prime quality psychological well being companies, however the care supplied had declined in recent times.
On the similar time, police exercise grew to become extra widespread on the advanced. Information present that police calls on the property have greater than doubled previously 4 years.
“There have been all these unstable personalities,” Haman stated, talking usually about her expertise with residents in this system. “It was explosive.”
Debra Berg, Self’s pal, stated the 2 of them had been leaving the condominium advanced close to Valencia Park on June 27 when Self and her neighbor began arguing. Berg stated she didn’t see what prompted the argument, however she heard Self yell, “Name 911!”
Self stepped in entrance of her neighbor’s automotive and pointed a digicam towards the car, Berg stated. The motive force began slowly inching ahead, whereas Self stood in entrance, slowly backing away and retaining the digicam pointed on the automotive.
“The woman yells, ‘Get outta the best way!’” Berg stated. “And Jennelle’s like, ‘You’re not going wherever!’”
Then, the automotive hit Self twice, inflicting her to fall over on the road unconscious.
“I simply gasped and I couldn’t consider it,” Berg stated. “And I’m certain Jennelle couldn’t both.”
Self was rushed to the hospital and pronounced useless. Her neighbor Samantha Muniz stayed on the scene whereas officers investigated and is dealing with prices in reference to Self’s dying.
Berg, who received to know Self after they lived close by one another in Golden Hill, stated Self was a robust particular person with integrity who liked her son unconditionally. The boy was in a parked automotive within the lot on the time of the incident.
“I’m actually offended for that child,” Berg stated. “He’s by no means going to know his mom.”
Self’s pals stated she had not too long ago bought a home in Georgia and was within the means of transferring her belongings throughout the nation. They created a fundraiser to assist her household pay for bills associated to her dying, together with journey and storage.
Self’s toddler is now dwelling out-of-state with household, based on her pal Tina O’Connor.
O’Connor grew to become shut with Self after they attended San Diego reggae live shows collectively. She stated Self had warned her repeatedly about an unstable and violent neighbor.
Courtroom information present Self had tried to file for 2 restraining orders earlier this yr towards Muniz, 44, each of which had been ultimately dismissed. A short lived restraining order was in impact towards Muniz till Might 13.
O’Connor stated her pal “wasn’t afraid to make use of her voice for issues that she wanted to, and I actually admired that about her.”
Previous to her dying, Self spoke with inewsource 3 times about her expertise within the Veterans Village housing program.
Self joined this system as a final resort to flee home violence, she stated. She described dealing with harassment from others on the property, and he or she was involved that staff had been allowed to enter her condominium with out permission.
After her condominium examined constructive for mould, Self stated she needed to transfer out of the advanced for greater than two months whereas it was cleaned.
Veterans Village management supplied inewsource with documentation displaying that it addressed the mould problem by hiring a remediation firm and supplied to quickly relocate Self whereas the work was being performed.
Self additionally described a confrontation with a resident supervisor that resulted in her falling and getting injured. The supervisor was ultimately terminated.
“I’ve introduced up security considerations which have but to be addressed,” Self stated in February.
By a number of accounts, Self and Muniz had gotten into repeated arguments over the previous yr and had made complaints towards one another, and each of them had didn’t adjust to the principles for the transitional housing program.
In accordance with Veterans Village management, Self and Muniz had every refused to just accept everlasting housing choices when supplied and the 2 of them had been within the means of being evicted.
“VVSD utilized each useful resource it had throughout the limitations of native legislation and the moratorium on evictions because of COVID, to guard all tenants, together with frequent updates and requests for help from the San Diego Police Division,” Veterans Village CEO Akilah Templeton stated in a press release.
Templeton stated she was deeply saddened to be taught what occurred, including that the nonprofit positioned safety guards on the property after the incident.
“We’re devastated by this information and are offering counseling to these affected by the tragedy and are totally cooperating with the police investigation,” Templeton stated.
As a result of she had been defunded from this system, Self was restricted in what companies she might obtain by way of the nonprofit.
Self instructed inewsource in February that she believed she was being wrongfully evicted for talking up about her considerations, though she acknowledged she didn’t comply with all of the housing program guidelines. And when she tried to speak to the VA about her expertise with Veterans Village, Self stated she was not taken critically.
The VA stated it couldn’t talk about the specifics of any veteran’s state of affairs because of privateness considerations.
“We’re really saddened by the lack of life on this state of affairs,” spokesperson David Haas stated. “VA San Diego Healthcare System takes each motion out there to offer assist for Veterans who voice considerations with their dwelling preparations.”
Haman, the previous therapist with Veterans Village, stated she introduced up security considerations in regards to the housing program a number of occasions to administration, and he or she warned them in regards to the lack of companies supplied to residents with advanced psychological well being wants.
She stated her complaints weren’t addressed throughout her time as an worker.
Haman stated nearly all of the tenants had a historical past of army sexual assault, home violence or each.
“That’s why this system was there,” Haman stated, “to assist them take care of their feelings to assist them transition into regular housing.”
However the psychological well being care that tenants are supplied has deteriorated over time, she stated, because the nonprofit has failed to interchange staff who left and piled extra duties onto staff with full caseloads.
In July 2021, Haman put in her two-weeks discover and emailed higher-ups along with her complaints. Amongst different considerations, she stated resident managers of the Welcome Residence Households program had demonstrated “unprofessional conduct, boundary violations, bullying and harassment of workers and purchasers.”
Haman stated shortly after she despatched the e-mail, she was escorted off the property and never allowed to return. One other worker corroborated Haman’s story and stated she witnessed Haman’s removing from the premises.
Templeton, the Veterans Village CEO, denied that the incident passed off and has beforehand stated the group continues to offer high-quality care regardless of a staffing scarcity. She additionally acknowledged complaints had been made towards condominium managers that led to their dismissal.
Muniz, the lady accused of inflicting Self’s dying, was initially arrested for homicide by San Diego police. However the District Lawyer’s Workplace charged her with lesser offenses, together with assault with a lethal weapon and assault by means to supply nice bodily damage.
The DA’s workplace stated it couldn’t touch upon particular instances, however usually, prices are primarily based on what will be confirmed past an affordable doubt.
On June 29, Muniz pleaded not responsible and was launched on her personal recognizance whereas the case towards her is ongoing.
Muniz and her legal professional couldn’t be reached for remark.
O’Connor, Self’s pal, stated she is working with Self’s household and legal professional to assist them course of the occasions which have occurred and construct a court docket case.
“I’ve cried. I’ve screamed. It’s taking a toll,” O’Connor stated. “However I’m not doing something for her that she wouldn’t do for me.”