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Ventura County

Man Sought in Wife's Attack

Joseph Olivarez of Ventura is suspected of shooting his spouse in front of their three children during an argument, then fleeing.

June 21, 2003|Sandra Murillo | Times Staff Writer

Ventura police were searching Friday evening for a man who allegedly shot his wife at their Harrison Avenue home earlier in the day.

Michelle Olivarez, 33, was taken to Ventura County Medical Center after the 1:45 p.m. incident and underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the back of the shoulder, police said. She was listed in serious condition.

According to police, Joseph Olivarez, 35, shot his wife in the presence of their children during an argument. The children, ages 15, 14 and 8, ran out of the house to alert neighbors, said Ventura Police Department spokesman Sean Conroy.

Olivarez fled in a black, four-door Volvo sedan, Conroy said.

Neighbor Trevelyn Diaz was at home when she heard the gunshot. She walked out of her house and saw one of the couple's teenage daughters running toward her.

"She just [ran] out of the house and I just knew something had happened," Diaz said. "She screamed, 'My dad shot my mom!' "

Diaz said she saw Olivarez getting into his car and witnessed a brief confrontation between him and the daughter who had been shouting.

"She looked at him and she kept saying, 'Why, why?' " Diaz said. Diaz described the Olivarezes as "really good people." They seemed "like a perfect family," she said.

Police had no record of domestic disturbances at the Harrison Avenue home, Conroy said.

Outside the Olivarezes' modest, pastel-green bungalow, neighbors and friends gathered to console the couple's children. A daughter screamed and hugged her friends tearfully as the youngest child nervously talked to a police officer. They cried and stared in disbelief as Michelle Olivarez was rolled into an ambulance.

"Not my mom, not my mom!" the daughter screamed.

Olivarez is 5 feet 10, has black hair and brown eyes, and weighs about 190 pounds. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call (805) 339-4416.

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