UCLA Student in Critical Condition After Shooting at Pacoima Gas Station

An 18-year-old UCLA student studying to be a pediatrician was in critical condition at UCLA Medical Center on Sunday after being shot in the head by two young men who police said confronted him at a pay phone in Pacoima.

Police said Ricardo Olivares, who has no gang connections, stopped with several friends at the corner of Laurel Canyon and Brand boulevards to buy gas about 12:45 a.m. Saturday. While his friends pumped gas and bought snacks at the convenience store, Olivares walked to a nearby phone booth, police said.

Two young men, believed to be gang members, confronted him and a fight broke out, police said. One of the men pulled out a handgun and fired several shots, police said. The attackers fled and have not been found.

Family members and friends waiting outside Olivares’ room in the intensive care unit Sunday described him as a friendly, hard-working young man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. One friend called the attack “an atrocity.”


As a student at San Fernando High School, Olivares served as vice president of the student body and once was named student of the month. He was accepted last year for admission at UC Berkeley and Stanford, as well as UCLA, according to family members. He chose UCLA because it was close to home.

“He is a model person,” Olivares’ brother Victor said.