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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Police Suspect Robber Knew Man Who Was Found Beaten and Shot

Investigation: A neighbor says the retiree, who was in critical condition, may have been carrying rent money.

March 13, 2000|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A 78-year-old Ventura retiree who was found beaten and shot inside his home near Ventura College on Friday may have been the victim of a robber who knew him, police said Sunday.

Jack T. Jamar, a former operator of an Oxnard oil company who owns several rental homes off Ventura Avenue, remained in critical condition Sunday night at Ventura County Medical Center.

He suffered a gunshot wound to his face from a small-caliber gun, police said. The weapon has not been recovered.

Officers were called to his home in the 4300 block of Varsity Drive about 6 p.m. Friday after a neighbor found Jamar's front door open and received no response after calling out, Ventura Police Sgt. Bob Anderson said.

"This was an attempt to kill him and it was particularly vicious," Anderson said. "This guy was beaten so badly we couldn't tell immediately" that he had been shot.

Anderson believes Jamar was attacked shortly before officers were called to the scene. The sergeant said there were no signs of forced entry at the home and that he thinks Jamar opened the front door for someone he knew.

"This is not a random attack," Anderson said. "This is someone who was familiar with him."

Anderson said detectives dusted for fingerprints and searched the home, located just south of Ventura College, for other evidence but he would not comment further on what was found. The sergeant also declined to say what may have been stolen.

One neighbor who has known Jamar for more than 30 years said Sunday afternoon that she thinks Jamar was robbed because he may have been carrying rent money he collected from his tenants. Authorities believe Jamar's wallet had been stolen; it was recovered only minutes before officers were called to Jamar's house.

A woman walking at Ventura College found Jamar's wallet shortly before 6 p.m. Friday and went to his home to return it, police said.

The woman, who is not a suspect, knocked on Jamar's front door but got no answer, so she went to his neighbor's home and left the wallet with a resident there.

When the neighbor went to return the wallet to Jamar, he found the front door open and called police, Anderson said. The woman who found the wallet contacted authorities Sunday after reading about the attack in a newspaper.

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Officers planned to interview her Sunday night to find out exactly where she found the wallet and what, if anything, she may have seen at the house.

According to the neighbor who has known Jamar for three decades, Jamar may have collected rent Friday from tenants at his three or four small rental homes off Ventura Avenue.

He was always paid in cash, said the neighbor, who asked not to be identified.

"I think he went and collected on Friday," the neighbor said. "I think this has to do with the money. I mean it's shocking this would happen, but this was about Jack" and not a random act of violence in the neighborhood.

Anderson said detectives plan to interview Jamar's tenants and other acquaintances.

According to neighbors, Jamar feared being robbed because he had been victimized at his home at least twice before.

One case was a burglary about which police released no details; the other was a home invasion robbery in 1997 in which Jamar was doused with pepper spray and beaten by two robbers who stole Jamar's watch and cash.

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The longtime neighbor said that at the time of the 1997 case, Jamar had rent collections in his home and some additional cash he had won playing poker at a Ventura card club.

The home invasion robbers were never caught, and Anderson said he was investigating whether there was a connection between that case and Friday's assault.

"It wouldn't shock me to hear that someone in the prior instance shared information about this guy or it was the same people," Anderson said.

Neighbors said that Jamar has led a quiet life since retiring and after the deaths of his wife and daughter due to illnesses. The 1997 robbery had frightened Jamar, who had bars installed on all his windows afterward. Police said Jamar also keeps a loaded gun at his house for safety.

One neighbor said Jamar regularly eats lunch at a cafe on Thompson Boulevard. She said he often brings her leftovers to give to her dog and that she shared vegetables from her garden with him.

"He's a nice guy but kind of reclusive," said the neighbor.

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