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Carjackers Slay Oxnard Woman in Parking Lot

July 21, 1996|SCOTT STEEPLETON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VENTURA — A 65-year-old woman was shot to death during a carjacking Saturday afternoon in the parking lot of one of the city's major shopping centers, authorities said.

Her car was found abandoned less than a block from the Poinsettia Shopping Center at Telephone Road and Main Street, Ventura Police Sgt. Gary McGaskill said.

The victim was identified as Mildred Wilson of Oxnard. She had no family locally, and was survived by brothers and sisters in Canada, a coroner's spokesman said. She was pronounced dead at 3:08 p.m., less than an hour after the shooting.

Authorities were still searching for a suspect or suspects late Saturday.

The fatal carjacking stunned shop workers and customers at the mall, home to such stores as Barnes & Noble and a Ross discount clothing store.

Saturday's shooting occurred about 2:25 p.m. at 4700 Telephone Road, McGaskill said. Wilson was shot once in the chest by a small-caliber gun and was taken to Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura.

Her 1986 Ford Crown Victoria was found abandoned in the southbound lane of Telephone Road next to the curb, between Main Street and the driveway to the parking lot where she was killed, McGaskill said.

News of the killing took employees of stores in the mall by surprise.

A 19-year-old employee of Ross and recent graduate of the Ventura County Sheriff's Academy expressed sadness at recent killings in a county where he's lived all his life.

"My good friend [Sheriff's Deputy] Peter Aguirre was killed near Ojai a couple of days ago, and when I came to work today I heard that a woman had been killed out in our parking lot," said Tim Scott, 19, who works at the store at the south end of the center. Scott says he hopes to become a Ventura County sheriff's deputy.

"Ventura County used to be the kind of place where you could go out and not worry about this kind of thing," he said.

According to a witness who works in a nearby store, a group of teenage boys approached the woman in the parking lot and tried to take her car. A struggle ensued and the woman fell to the ground, the witness said.

The witness said a man then ran into the store and said the woman was having a seizure. The witness said she went to the injured woman's aid and found her on the ground face down. She saw no blood on the victim.

Two other women rolled the shooting victim onto her back, the witness said, and shoved a wallet in her mouth believing it would help her breathe. Paramedics arrived soon after.

Anyone with information on the shooting is urged to call McGaskill at 339-4482, or Sgt. George Morris at 339-4474.

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