Police Fear Boy's Slaying Could Lead to Gang Violence

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Oxnard police arrested a 49-year-old man in the fatal shooting early Saturday of a 17-year-old boy, whose death officers fear could spark gang retaliation.

Richard Louis Rodriguez of Oxnard was seated in the bed of a pickup truck driven by his father when he was struck in the chest by a gunshot, police said.

Within hours of the 12:01 a.m. shooting, detectives arrested Angel Orona Rodriguez of Oxnard on suspicion of murder. Police said the suspect, who was being held in Ventura County Jail on $250,000 bail, was not related to the victim.

Police refused to disclose the scene of the shooting, other than to say it was in south Oxnard. Sgt. John Crombach said Police Chief Robert Owens agreed with members of the detective unit that disclosing the location could prompt violence by gang members against the the suspect's family and neighborhood residents.

"To prevent any other violence over the weekend, we would rather not let the public know where these people were so we don't have people out there who feel retribution is in order and run over there and take care of business," Crombach said. "If this kid has a bunch of friends in his neighborhood, they might run over and do drive-by shootings and feel justice has been served."

Crombach would not say whether the victim was a gang member. He said the shooting did not occur in Richard Rodriguez's neighborhood.

According to a police statement, Richard Rodriguez's father drove the youth to St. John's Regional Medical Center, where he died at 12:30 a.m. while undergoing treatment for his chest wound.

Mayor Nao Takasugi said Saturday afternoon police would not tell him where the incident took place.

The homicide was the 17th in Ventura County this year, according to the county coroner's office. Eight of the killings were committed in Oxnard.

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