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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Teen Hurt in Gang-Related Shooting, Police Say

Violence: Three men, at least one of whom was armed, were seen approaching the victim and fleeing after shots were fired in front of residence.

May 24, 2000|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT and STEVE OSMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

OXNARD — A 19-year-old Oxnard man was in stable condition Tuesday night after being shot in the shoulder during what police described as a gang-related incident.

The shooting occurred shortly before 5 p.m. in front of a house in the 500 block of East Pleasant Valley Road, said Oxnard Police Sgt. Marty Meyer. The gunman remained at large Tuesday night.

Police refused to disclose further details, but an eyewitness said three men in a white Toyota Camry drove up and parked on nearby Cypress Road before approaching the victim, who was standing against a chain-link fence in front of a friend's house.

The eyewitness, a woman who was outside her home with her young child at the time, said she saw a man emerge from the car's back seat with a gun in his waistband. She then heard three shots before seeing the men run back to the vehicle and speed off.

After being shot, the victim staggered to the front porch of his friend's house and collapsed, witnesses said.

Several residents said they heard three gunshots, two that they believe were aimed at the victim and a third that may have been fired from the area of the victim toward the assailants.

"We heard the gunshots, 'bang, bang,' and then 'bang,' and then we heard a ping against the station," said Oxnard Fire Capt. Steve Caplan, who works at a city fire station behind where the shooters were standing.

Police could not confirm whether the victim or friends inside the house were armed or returned fire. The victim and the shooter were identified as rival gang members, according to Oxnard police.

Oxnard Fire Engineer Al Rivera said he ran outside after hearing what he thought were kids playing with firecrackers and people screaming. Residents who ran to assist the victim motioned to Rivera to help them.

Jose Gonzales, who lives in the house where the shooting occurred, said the victim is a friend of his who lives nearby. The victim told police he did not want his name publicized for fear of retaliation.

Gonzales, 14, used a sweater to put pressure on his friend's wound to stop the bleeding before paramedics arrived and took him to St. John's Regional Medical Center, he said. The teen's hands were covered in blood.

Gonzales said the victim was conscious after the shooting and uttered: "I think this is my last day."

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Wolcott is a Times Community News reporter. Osman is a Times photographer.

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