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Ventura County

Navy Begins Gunshot Probe

Oxnard: Officials want to know if a bullet that struck a woman walking near the beach was fired from inside the Ventura County base.

July 19, 2002|TIMOTHY HUGHES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Military investigators have launched a probe into the shooting of a woman who was walking her dog just outside the fence line of Naval Base Ventura County.

"We want to find out what transpired, since we are so close to where the alleged shot was fired," base spokesman Vance Vasquez said. "Right now we are assisting the Oxnard Police Department."

The 51-year-old woman, whose identity was not disclosed Thursday, was taken to Ventura County Medical Center after the shooting, which occurred just before noon Wednesday.

She underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the right hip and remained hospitalized Thursday in stable condition, officials said.

The woman was walking her dog near the end of Arnold Road past Hueneme Road when she was shot, Oxnard Sgt. Scott Hebert said.

"It looks like it may have come off of the base," Hebert said. "The person who got shot said she never heard or saw anything."

The woman got in her car and drove home before calling police, Hebert said.

Hebert said Oxnard detectives immediately returned to the area and interviewed several people at a nearby beach. Authorities said there were no witnesses.

"After hearing everything, we determined that more than likely [the gunshot] came from the base," Hebert said. "Whether it was intentional or not, we don't know."

Hebert said detectives faxed their findings to the Navy's investigative unit because "it appears the jurisdiction will be on the base."

The woman was walking her dog in a remote area of sandy berms and beachfront outside the northern tip of the base and south of a nearby power plant, Hebert said.

A base shooting range is about 1 1/2 miles from where the woman was hit but was not in use Wednesday, Vasquez said. Even if the range had been open, Vasquez said, safety procedures are in place to prevent a stray bullet from going off the range.

"It's a good distance away," Vasquez said of the range. "[It] faces the ocean anyway, and there is a large berm off to the side."

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