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Boy, 13, Chased and Shot by Youths in Camarillo

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In a flare-up of gang violence rare for this city, a 13-year-old boy was shot in the buttocks during a confrontation between Camarillo and Oxnard gang members at a fast-food restaurant drive-thru window, authorities said Tuesday.

The boy’s injury was not considered life-threatening and he was being treated at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, sheriff’s officials said. Authorities did not release the name of the victim because he is a juvenile.

Authorities said the teenager was among a group of Camarillo gang members who had apparently confronted Oxnard gang members outside a Burger King restaurant off Arneill Road.

With the gunman still at large, sheriff’s officials contacted gang investigators at police agencies across Ventura County for help. Meanwhile, Camarillo city officials, rattled by the incident, called for a swift investigation.

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Vice Mayor Kevin Kildee called the shooting unacceptable and said he would meet with police to discuss the incident.

“It’s very rare, and it’s a big concern,” Kildee said. “It’s something we don’t put up with in this town, and we won’t on this one.

“We’ll put out a full-court press, find the individual who did it, and prosecute to the full extent of the law.”

Authorities gave the following account of the shooting, which occurred about 9:45 p.m. Monday:

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Shortly before the restaurant’s closing, authorities said, a group of two or three gang members from Camarillo, all on foot, confronted three or four gang members from Oxnard who were in a compact car at the drive-thru window. The youths shouted at each other and flashed gang signs.

Eventually, one of the Oxnard youths got out of the car and fired a handgun.

The gunman chased the Camarillo youths through the parking lot and west on Daily Drive, firing several rounds and striking one of the teens. The gunman then fled with his friends, who were described as teens or young men wearing Dallas Cowboys jerseys, common attire for Oxnard-area gang members, authorities said.

Shortly afterward, the wounded teen was dropped off at the hospital. Investigators said he was refusing to provide them with information on who was involved.

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Because it was near closing time, few customers were in the restaurant, and no others were injured, Sheriff’s Sgt. Larry Meyers said. But the shooting terrified employees, he said.

“The manager was obviously shaken scared,” Meyers said. “She slammed the window shut and ducked down.”

No arrests had been reported, but Sheriff’s Capt. Bill Montijo said detectives were close to apprehending the gunman. Montijo said the shooting arose from a battle over turf.

“As best we can tell, it’s an ongoing dispute, where locals challenge each other’s turf,” Montijo said. “They see something different, go up and challenge them, and that’s all it takes.”

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Sheriff’s officials said the alleged Camarillo gang members in the restaurant incident most likely belong to the Barry Street gang, a group authorities say has existed for years and often causes trouble, but rarely acts so violently.

Meyers, who is stationed in Camarillo, said the city has relatively few gang problems compared with neighboring Oxnard and Ventura.

He struggled to recall recent incidents of gang-related violent crime, citing only two: a nonfatal shooting at a party last year, and a gang rampage several years ago during which Camarillo gang members robbed a food store, then drove to Oxnard and shot one person.

“Periodically, there’s an incident,” Meyers said. “But it hasn’t been a real big problem here.”

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