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Gang Is Harassing Oxnard Hospital, Report to Court Says

May 14, 2004|Holly J. Wolcott | Times Staff Writer

Colonia Chiques gang members and associates have assaulted a hospital worker, intimidated patients and staff members and are responsible for thousands of dollars worth of vandalism at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, according to court documents filed by police.

The pattern of harassment and crime at the city's only hospital was detailed in a civil lawsuit filed last month by Ventura County authorities against the county's largest and most violent gang.

Police are seeking an injunction against the Chiques, linked to three dozen homicides in the past decade, to restrict their activities in the city.

"It's horrifying what's been going on," said prosecutor Karen Wold, who is handling the injunction filed on behalf of the Ventura County district attorney's office. "Every time one of them [gang member] gets shot or stabbed, they create chaos at the hospital."

Oxnard Police Chief Art Lopez echoed Wold's comments.

"It was terrible," Lopez said. "[Hospital officials] were so happy to hear we were going to be involved with this injunction that they made their points to us and said they would appreciate anything we could do to help."

Hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Robinson said no official would be available to comment on the medical center problems outlined in a 285-page declaration drafted by Oxnard Det. Neail Holland as part of the civil suit.

Gang members regularly arrive at the facility as victims of stabbings, beatings and shootings, authorities say.

Reached Thursday at the hospital, Dr. H. Allen Hooper, the treating emergency room physician, said he was too busy with patients to talk but said of gang activity at the facility: "We haven't had that many problems."

If approved by a judge, the injunction against the Chiques would restrict members' activities within a 6.6-square-mile "safety zone," which would include the hospital on North Rose Avenue. Violators would face misdemeanor charges for flashing gang signs, wearing Dallas Cowboy attire, staying out past 10 p.m. and socializing with one another within the restricted area.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Fred H. Bysshe is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case May 24.

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