Police had no leads Friday in the mysterious shooting death of a 44-year-old county worker, whose body was found Thursday night on a basketball court at the Community Center.
The body of Jimmie Lee Oxford, who lived in Perris, in Riverside County, was discovered around 10 p.m. by a resident who was taking a walk behind the recreational complex on Del Obispo Street, said Lt. Bob Rivas of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Oxford had been shot several times in the upper body and head.
Homicide detectives are unsure of a motive, Rivas said. “That all is still being investigated,” he said. An autopsy has been done, Rivas said, but results were not immediately available.
Reco Williams, 36, who lives in a condominium complex overlooking the basketball court, said that he was sitting in his bedroom with his girlfriend shortly after dusk Thursday when he heard voices coming from the darkened basketball court. Seconds later, he heard several gunshots.
After that, it was quiet. Williams said that he did not call the police or investigate the area outside his home. “I didn’t want to play Mr. Hero in this case,” he said.
Oxford, an employee of the county’s Environmental Management Agency who worked at a nearby public works maintenance yard, had completed his 6 a.m.-to-5 p.m. shift Thursday. He was last seen “waiting for a ride,” said his supervisor, who asked not to be named.
“Apparently, he does car-pool with his wife,” Rivas said. “She didn’t find him and drove around looking for him.”
His wife eventually went to either a friend’s house or a relative’s house in San Juan Capistrano, Rivas said, where homicide investigators found her after 10 p.m.
Public Works operations manager Bill Reiter said that Oxford was a heavy-equipment operator who had worked for the county for 20 years. He added that Oxford was well-liked and had no apparent enemies.
“Jim was a model employee,” Reiter said. “We are all shocked, to put it mildly. He was well-liked by his fellow workers. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. We certainly are going to miss him.”
Community center administrator Dave Lewis said that the area has been plagued by “minor problems” of people jumping the fence at the maintenance yard and stealing tools.