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Police Confusion Cited in Oxnard Shooting Incident

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Confusion by two police agencies over the description of a car containing Oxnard gang members who had shot one man and robbed another early Thursday may have allowed the suspected shooter to escape, the California Highway Patrol said.

But Oxnard police maintain that it is unclear whether the vehicle stopped by the CHP was even involved in the crime.

CHP officers pulled a car over for speeding on the Ventura Freeway seven minutes after the shooting was reported at 2:13 a.m., but let its occupants go because of “incorrect information” concerning the vehicle’s description, CHP Officer Steve Reid said.

“When the broadcast was put out, we got some incorrect information and our officers by chance made a speed enforcement stop,” Reid said. “We later found out after we cited and released the driver [that] the vehicle did contain the shooter. . . . Obviously, if it was the correct vehicle, our officers would have taken a more aggressive enforcement stance.”

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But Oxnard police said the CHP might not have stopped the right car.

“There’s some discrepancy as to what the suspect’s vehicle actually looked like,” said Tom Chronister, senior officer with the Oxnard Police Department.

The incident began when Oxnard residents Anthony San Miguel and Paul Carr, both 21, ran out of gas on the Ventura Freeway near the Santa Clara Avenue offramp, Chronister said. The pair called for help at a nearby mini-mart and returned to their car.

Soon after, six to eight men in two vehicles--a white Buick and a white pickup--confronted the pair, robbing them and shooting San Miguel in the pelvis. He was treated at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and released.

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At 2:20 a.m., CHP officers stopped a car for speeding near Santa Clara Avenue, but let it go after citing the driver, Reid said.

Reid said the CHP believed that police were looking for a blue or green 1993 Toyota. It wasn’t until 2:54 a.m. that the CHP was told that the wanted vehicle was a tan 1981 Oldsmobile, he said.

However, Chronister noted that police actually sought a white Buick and said CHP officers didn’t even know about the shooting when they made the traffic stop.


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