The case of

Elsa Herlinda Borboa-Firro, Neva Denise Caine, Michelle Deanne Carncross, Maria Elena Colmeero-Silva and more...


Elsa Herlinda Borboa-Firro, Neva Denise Caine, Michelle Deanne Carncross, Maria Elena Colmeero-Silva and more...

Victim Race

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Victim Date of Birth

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Victim Age
Date Reported

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Date of Death

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Case Status

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Incident Location

McDonalds in San Ysidro neighborhood of San Diego, California

Body Location

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Date of Conviction

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Body Discovered Date

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James Huberty, From Survivalist to Security Guard to Serial Killer

James Oliver Huberty was born in Canton, Ohio in the early fall of 1942. Later in life, he was raised by his father, Earl Huberty, after his mother abandoned the family. As a small child, Huberty contracted Polio which presented him with lasting effects, leaving him with difficulty walking for the rest of his life. Huberty lived a rather normal adult life. After receiving his degree in sociology from Malone College in 1962, Huberty quickly obtained his embalming license from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. During his time at the institute, he met his soon-to-be wife, Etna, before marrying her in 1965. Not long after, they had two daughters together, and James Huberty got a job as a welder.

As their marriage went on, James and Etna Huberty developed a violent relationship and quickly became known by local law enforcement. Huberty would slap and punch his daughters, and occasionally even held knives to their throats.

James Huberty would become a survivalist after developing beliefs that foreign bankers were messing with the Federal Reserve System. He believed that the world was on edge of nuclear war, and wanted to be prepared for the coming apocalypse. Hubery also believed that the President and the United States Government were personally working against him. These delusions drove Huberty to a point of insanity, threatening to shoot anyone who would fire him from his job and to purchase $6,000 worth of survival materials. Huberty was fired and, shortly after obtaining a new job, tried to kill himself.

In 1983, James Huberty was in a motorcycle accident that left him with permanent damage to his right arm, trigged by the Polio he experienced as a child. The accident forced Huberty to resign from his position as a welder. Huberty would continue to get in trouble in the years following after experiencing legal problems due to a shady sale of an apartment complex. After moving to the San Ysidro neighborhood in San Diego, California during 1984, Huberty got a job as a security guard and was let go in the two weeks leading up to the deadly Mcdonalds’ massacre.

Mental Health, Money, McDonalds—What’s The Motive?

On the exact day before the massacre, Huberty called a local mental health clinic and left a message which the receptionist, who assured him that he would get a return phone call within a few hours. According to Etna, James Hurberty sat by the phone for hours. Unfortunately, the receptionist had failed to accurately record Huberty’s last name, and due to Huberty’s calm tone, she had marked his call as “non-urgent,” which had a 48-hour deadline for return calls.

In fact, James Huberty allegedly told Etna that he felt his “life was over” because the clinic never returned the call. On the day of the event, Huberty took his wife and daughters to the San Diego Zoo, and ironically, to a McDonalds restaurant for lunch. When the family returned, Huberty dressed in green camouflage slacks and a maroon t-shirt, armed himself with weapons and left, telling his wife he was off to “hunt humans.” Just before leaving, he looked at his eldest daughter, Zelia Huberty, and said, “Goodbye. I won’t be back.”

James Huberty visited a grocery store and post office before deciding on the location to commit his act, the San Ysidro McDonalds. Witnesses reported Huberty walking down San Diego Boulevard with his guns on display in plain sight and called the police. However, the witness failed to provide law enforcement with the correct address. At 3:40 p.m., Huberty walked into the San Ysidro Boulevard McDonalds restaurant and demanded all patrons get on the floor and lie down. He then began his rampant shooting spree, killing 21 people in the process and injuring 19 more.

The police would later report that Huberty was drinking soft drinks and listening to rock music on a portable radio, dancing as he fired at and murdered indiscriminately.

Sniper Puts an End to The Stand-Off

The first police officer on the scene was a patrol officer who arrived at 4:07 p.m., under the impression the scene he was rolling up to was an accident. As the officer, Miguel Rosario, arrives on the scene, Huberty walks out of the restaurant and begins to shoot as Rosario, shattering his windshield and sirens. Rosario did not return fire but instead called in for the SWAT team. When SWAT arrived, the stand-off began and the area surrounding the McDonalds was blocked off.

Charles Foster, also called Chuck Foster, was a sniper with SWAT. Foster took his position at a post office located South of the McDonalds. At 5:16 p.m., Foster aimed James Huberty, who was standing near a service counter inside the restaurant. Foster fired one shot which hit Huberty directly in the heart, which killed him almost immediately.


Aside from these 21 victims, 19 were injured, and one unborn child was lost.

The victims of James Huberty’s massacre were Elsa Herlinda Borboa-Firro (19), Neva Denise Caine (22), Michelle Deanne Carncross (18), Maria Elena Colmeero-Silva (19), Gloria Lopez Gonzalez (22), Blythe Regan Herrera (31), Matao Herrera (31), Paulina Aquino Lopez (21), Margarita Padilla (18), Claudia Perez (9), Jose Ruben Lozano-Perez (19), Carlos Reyes (8 mos.), Jackie Reyes (18), Victor Rivera (25), Arisdelsi Vuelvas-Vargas (31), Hugo Luis Velazquez Vasquez (45), Laurence Herman Versluis (62), David Flores Delgado (11), Omarr Alonso Hernandez (11), Miguel Victoria-Ulloa (74) and Aida Velazquez Victoria (69).


After the events, the McDonalds has been turned into an Education Center for Southwestern Community College. The new center featured a memorial for the victims of the massacre. Additionally, the San Diego PD increased the amount of training it had for special units and gave officers firearms of a higher power.

Furthermore, as a result of the tragedy, San Ysidro officers were offered counseling for those involved in the traumatic accident.

James Huberty’s family, Etna and her children, received man death threats in the weeks after the massacre. This resulted in the family relocating.

Zelia Huberty, the daughter of James Huberty, was only 12 years old when her father committed the massacre. She spoke out for the first time in 30 years, and said that she would have killed her father herself had she known what he was going to do.

McNugget Mayhem

As a result of his actions, James Huberty became responsible for the 8th deadliest mass shooting done by a single perpetrator in the world. At the time, it was the worst mass murder committed by a single gunman; During the 77-minute massacre, Huberty fired 257 bullets. Due to the high number of victims, The San Ysidro Civic Center had to be used to hold the wakes for all of the victims.

The families of the victims attempted to sue McDonalds but were unsuccessful. Huberty’s wife, Etna Huberty, also attempted to sue McDonalds, claiming that their chicken nuggets led him to experience delusions and rage. The family claimed that James Huberty often ate the chicken nuggets, including on the day of the shooting. However, the lawsuit was dismissed in 1987.