A suspected gang-related gun fight between occupants of two vehicles ended with two people dead and an innocent 52-year-old female motorist in critical condition, Port Hueneme police said Thursday.
Anthony Roseby, 21, and Richard Gonzalez, 19, both of Oxnard, were pronounced dead at the scene following the 7 p.m. shooting Wednesday that ended when their car crashed into trees on Ventura Road, police said. Gonzalez was ejected from the vehicle and landed in the median.
A fire erupted beneath the disabled car as half a dozen people, including two who used a fire extinguisher from a nearby truck, attempted to help the men, Cmdr. Jerry Beck said. Roseby was pronounced dead shortly after emergency personnel removed him from the vehicle.
Roseby died from a single gunshot to the head and blunt force injuries from the crash, according to an autopsy by the Ventura County coroner's office. An autopsy of Gonzalez's body is scheduled for this morning.
Myrna Littell of Oxnard, a motorist who was shot in the neck by stray gunfire, was listed in critical but stable condition Thursday at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
No arrests have been made in the homicides, the first in the coastal city since April 2002. The shootings may have been motivated by revenge for an earlier incident, police said.
"We've been extremely fortunate that we haven't been affected by the increase in gang activity that Oxnard has experienced," Beck said. "But the gangs don't care where they're at. If they're taking retaliatory action they don't care where they are."
"Until we can identify all the players, there's no way to tell" conclusively that it was a revenge shooting, Beck said. "There's a strong possibility that's exactly what it was."
Witnesses said the conflict began in Oxnard at Pleasant Valley Road and C Street when the occupants of a black compact car began following Roseby and Gonzalez, both suspected gang members, traveling in an Oldsmobile.
The two cars traveled west on Pleasant Valley Road to Ventura Road, then headed north as shots were fired from the compact toward the Oldsmobile, according to Beck. No weapon was found in or near the Oldsmobile, which had bullet holes, and there was no indication the men had returned fire, he said.
Authorities said it appeared a stray round broke the driver's side window of the white minivan that Littell was driving south on Ventura Road. She lost control of the van, which ran off the right side of the road and crashed into a tree near Pearson Road, Beck said
Occupants in the compact, which one witness told police had tinted windows, continued firing at the Oldsmobile that Roseby was driving. After he was hit, Roseby lost control of the car, which ran over the center divider and into several trees.
Beck said Port Hueneme detectives were working with Oxnard homicide and gang investigators in their search for those inside the compact.
Anyone with information is urged to call police at 986-6530.