20-year-old killed at Juneteenth event at Liberty Station ‘had a great future ahead of him,’ family says
Jonathan Pullum was at the event at NTC Park with his 24-year-old brother when a shooting occurred June 17.
A 20-year-old man fatally shot June 17 at a Juneteenth event at Liberty Station in Point Loma was a San Diego resident who was set to join the Navy, his family said.
Jonathan Pullum’s father remembered him as a loving, smart, respectful, outgoing and charismatic man.
Pullum and another 20-year-old man were shot during the celebration at NTC Park on Cushing Road about 6:45 p.m. Police said a fight had broken out in the crowd.
Get Point Loma-OB Monthly in your inbox every month
News and features about Point Loma and Ocean Beach every month for free
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Point Loma-OB Monthly.
Pullum died at a hospital. The other man, who was shot in a leg, was expected to survive.
The investigation was continuing and no one had been arrested in the case. A detailed description of the shooter — said to be in his 20s — was unavailable.
Pullum’s father, Terrance, said June 19 that his son was with others who got into a fight. Terrance Pullum said his son walked away and was shot in the back.
Police said after the shooting that investigators had not determined whether the victims were involved in the fight.
Jonathan Pullum attended the event with his 24-year-old brother.
“We were enjoying ourselves,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Elijah Pullum. He added that both of them had friends at the event.
Elijah Pullum said he split up from his brother and was walking around with a friend when gunshots rang out. The crowd scrambled to disperse, but he didn’t want to leave without his brother. He called his cellphone twice — but no one answered.
He walked to where a small crowd had gathered around someone, looking for his brother in the crowd. Instead he saw his brother lying on the ground. He had been shot.
At the hospital, Elijah was told his brother was in surgery. He read in the news that a shooting victim was killed and another was wounded. He had not yet gotten an update from hospital staff.
“He was just a bright young man with a great future ahead of him,” Elijah said. “Everywhere we went it was always somebody happy to see him.”
He described Jonathan as his best friend.
“Everywhere I went, I took him with me,” he said. “We did everything together.”
Jonathan Pullum was born and raised in San Diego and finished high school in Birmingham, Ala., where his father lives. He later moved back to San Diego and had lived with his brother for the past five months. He worked at Target and wanted to follow in his brother’s footsteps and join the Navy. He was in touch with a recruiter and was waiting to go to boot camp. He aspired to get a degree in engineering during his service.
“He wanted to excel in life,” his father said.
Terrance Pullum said Jonathan liked to play video games, listen to music and write poetry. He said he and his son liked to joke around. He said he taught his son to avoid conflict and stay out of trouble.
“That’s more than likely why he just turned away,” Terrance said of the shooting.
“Everywhere I went, I took him with me. We did everything together.”
— Elijah Pullum
The last time Terrance saw Jonathan in person was in December during a visit to San Diego. He gave Jonathan a new cellphone for his birthday and $200 for Christmas. He said he and Jonathan talked via FaceTime “all the time.”
“I still don’t believe this is true,” Terrance said. “It just doesn’t seem real. I don’t believe it.
“I was seeing my boy turn into a young man.”
Jonathan Pullum is survived by his father, mother and four siblings. His father started a GoFundMe page to raise money to cover funeral expenses.
Police asked anyone with information about the case to call investigators at (619) 531-2293 or the San Diego County Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477.