The Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office says a Simi Valley man shot and killed his neighbor and then turned the gun on himself. It happened in the 3300 block of Billie Court in Simi Valley early Tuesday morning. They say the 59-year-old man shot his 61-year-old female neighbor multiple times then shot himself once in the head. The Medical Examiner classified her death as a homicide and the man's death as a suicide. The shootings happened in front of two homes on the block. They were both pronounced dead at the scene. The name of the woman has been released. She is identified as Pamela McClain. While Simi PD has released the name of the man, the Medical Examiner's Office has asked us not to because his family has not been notified yet. Police have not offered any motive for the murder-suicide. They say that while the two were neighbors and knew each other in that capacity, they did not have any other relationship beyond that.
The Ventura County District Attorney's Office and prosecutors from six other California counties have settled an unfair business practices suit against the suppliers of the most widely distributed ready-to-use propane grilling tanks in the United States. The companies behind Blue Rhino and AmericGas Cylinder Exchange have agrees to pay a combined total of $1.8 million dollars to settle the lawsuit which alleged their labeling practices were deceptive to consumers. The Ventura County DA says that in 2008, faced with rising fuel costs, the companies reduced the amount of propane in each tank from 17 to 15 pounds. That reduced the grilling time by one to one-and-a-half hours. Prosecutors alleged that even though each tank had a label indicating 15 pounds, the metal cages where the tanks were stored had signs that said the tanks were "full" or as still containing 17 pounds. The suit also alleged the companies made statements in their ads and on product placards that were misleading to consumers. Blue Rhino agreed to pay $1 million and AmeriGas agreed to pay $800,000 in civil penalties and costs. The companies also agreed to abide by a court injunction that requires them to make sure that the actual amount of propane in the tank is made clear in every way possible. The DA's office says the companies cooperated with the investigation.
Deputies are looking for the suspect in an armed robbery at a Thousand Oaks fast food restaurant Tuesday afternoon. They say a little before 4 PM a man armed with a hammer walked into the Taco Bell in the 1900 block of Avenida De Los Arboles and demanded money. The store employee complied and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. He ran eastbound from the restaurant. Deputies say there are conflicting reports about whether he left the area in a vehicle. No one was injured. Deputies described the suspect as a Hispanic male in his late 20's or early 30's who was dressed, from head to toe, in black.
Simi police and the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office are investigating what police are calling the "suspicious deaths" of two people. They were found dead shortly after 7 AM this morning in the 3300 block of Billie Court. The Ventura County Fire Department had been called to the scene and found the bodies in the front yard of two near by homes. Firefighters immediately requested police. Simi PD says this appears to be an isolated incident and that there appears to be no suspects outstanding. They say the bodies are that of a 59-year-old Simi Valley man and a 61-year-old Simi Valley woman who were neighbors and who knew each other but who were not related and not in a dating relationship. Detectives along with the coroner's office are not saying yet what they think happened. Police are asking anyone with information that could help them determine what happened and why to call their detective unit at (805) 583-6969. You can also provide information anonymously at Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Or text "BUSTED" plus your message to CRIMES (274637).
Updated-The CHP says the 23-year-old Ventura man killed on the northbound 101 freeway in downtown Ventura early this morning jumped off the California Street overpass. CHP Officer Steven Reid tells KVTA News the man was then struck by several vehicles and was pronounced dead at the scene. The incident, which was reported at 3:10 AM Tuesday morning, forced closure of the northbound 101 at California Street for three and a half hours. That created a major traffic tie up not only on the northbound 101 but also on surface streets through a portion of downtown Ventura. Reid says the incident remains under investigation. One of the drivers who hit the man apparently wound up on the northbound 33 near Canada Larga. That driver and all the other drivers apparently stopped and notified authorities about what happened. The authorities believe this was a suicide.
After a dozen years on the council, and reelection in November to another four, Councilman Neal Andrews was again rejected by his fellow council members to be Mayor, or even Deputy Mayor. Instead, the council unanimously selected Deputy Mayor Cheryl Heitmann to be Mayor for the next two years, and on a 5-2 vote selected newly elected Councilman Erik Nasarenko to be Deputy Mayor. Councilman Mike Tracy was blunt, questioning Andrews's ability to be "honest, dependable and trustworthy in representing the views of the entire council." Tracy said it wasn't Andrews's positions on issues that disqualified him for Deputy Mayor or Mayor, but rather his inability to work with the other council membrs and respect their views. Tracy said being on the council for a long time did not mean you deserved to be Mayor or Deputy Mayor. But several people from the audience spoke in favor of making Andrews either Mayor or Deputy Mayor saying he was being punished simply for disagreeing with some other council members. Those who voted to make Nasarenko Deputy Mayor instead of Andrews were Tracy, and council members Christy Weir, Jim Monahan, Mayor Heitmann, and Nasarenko.
Santa Barbara County authorities say a man stabbed his business partner early Monday morning then killed himself by jumping off a freeway overpass. It happened around 4 AM in Goleta. Deputies responded to find the 56-year-old victim suffering from multiple stab wounds. He told deputies he was sleeping when his business partner, 66-year-old Thomas Hutchison of Goleta, attacked him. The victim was taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery and was recovering from his wounds. Meanwhile, as deputies were investigating the incident, they received word that the suspect, Hutchison, had jumped off the Winchester overpass and was found dead on the right hand shoulder of the northbound 101 freeway.
Updated--The body of a man was found late Monday morning floating in the ocean off the Port Hueneme beach. A paddle boarder spotted the body shortly after 11:30 AM about 50-100 yards off the beach between the Port Hueneme Pier and the entrance to the Port of Hueneme. 9-1-1 was called and first responders from the county and Oxnard city fire departments arrived on scene. Ventura County Fire Captain Mike Lindbery told KVTA News from the scene that a rescue swimmer went out and retrieved the body and brought it ashore. Paramedics tried CPR but the man was pronounced dead at the scene. Ventura County Sheriff's Sergeant Eric Buschow told KVTA News from the scene that the man was fully clothed. The Medical Examiner's Office determined this was a suicide by drowning.
A pursuit early Monday morning ended with a crash in Somis that injured three people. Ventura County Sheriff's Deputies say that around 1:25 AM Monday, deputies attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation on Highway 118 just west of Moorpark. The vehicle failed to yield and that began a brief pursuit westbound on Highway 118 that ended on the west side of Somis when the suspect vehicle crashed while entering what's known as the "Mesa Curves" near La Vista Road. The suspect driver fled into an orchard leaving three injured passengers trapped in the vehicle. Ventura County firefighters were responded to the scene and extricated the three victims. The injured passengers were taken by ambulances to VCMC. The CHP said they had minor injuries. No deputies were hurt. The crash shut down the highway for about an hour. Meanwhile, deputies, including a K-9 and sheriff's helicopter, searched the area around Mesa School and the 118 looking for the driver who had fled the scene. The suspect vehicle was reported out of the LA area.
Ventura County Sheriff's Deputies are investigating a stabbing near Oxnard Sunday night. It happened in the unincorporated community of El Rio around 7:45 PM in the area of Rose Avenue and Simon Way. Deputies say a young man told them he was walking in that area when three suspects came up and attacked him, knocking him to the ground. He then realized he had been stabbed. The suspects fled and the victim ran to his house for help. He was ultimately taken to the hospital for treatment. His condition is unknown but his injuries were not life threatening. He told deputies he did not get a good look at his assailants and was unable to provide a description.
A man went to great lengths to recover his stolen vehicle in Santa Paula Sunday morning. Police say they were called to the 1200 block of Orchard Street shortly after 10 AM to a report of a stolen vehicle. The victim told the dispatcher he had started his car to warm it up before going to church and left the vehicle unattended. Before officers arrived on scene, the victim spotted the suspect driving his vehicle around the neighborhood. The victim jumped in front of the vehicle. Luckily the suspect stopped. The victim then jumped through an open window and regained possession of his vehicle. The suspect, identified as 24-year-old Nadia Estrada of Santa Paula, fled with another woman. Estrada was located by police and taken into custody following a short foot pursuit. Police say that as Estrada was being taken into custody, she tried to bite one of the officers. Police say she did the same thing to another officer on Friday while being taken into custody on a theft charge. She was released from jail Saturday. She's now back in jail for vehicle theft and felony resisting arrest. Her bail is now set at $40,000. Police are advising people not to try to retrieve stolen property or take suspects into custody. They say in this case Estrada decided to stop the vehicle when the victim stood in front of it. Had she decided differently, the outcome might have been tragic.
Monday night's Ventura City Council meeting will be focused primarily on reorganizing. The council will be giving final approval to the recently passed ban on all types of medical marijuana dispensaries, but much of the meeting will taken up with selecting a new mayor and deputy mayor, saying goodbye to retiring Councilman Brian Brennan, and swearing in the three incumbent councilmen, Mike Tracy, Jim Monahan, and Neal Andrews, who won reelection last month along with newcomer, Councilman-elect, Erick Nasarenko, who is replacing Brennan. If tradition holds, Deputy Mayor Cheryl Heitmann will become Mayor, replacing Mike Tracy who is ending his two year term as Mayor to return to being just plain council member. But there has been talk about selecting Councilman Neil Andrews as Mayor. Andrews has been passed over for the position in the past. The positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor are filled by council members selected by the other council members. They are largely ceremonial. The meeting begins at 6 PM in the Council Chambers at Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli Street.
(Photo courtesy Ventura City Fire Department)
Ventura firefighters responded Saturday morning to a fire in a vacant downtown building they say has become a magnet for vagrants. The fire was spotted shortly before 8 AM by people attending the Ventura Farmer's Market in the 300 block of E. Santa Clara Street. They say the abandoned, shuttered building was home for a financial services plaza. But in recent years it's become a haven for vagrants who breached the exterior stucco walls to create a crawl space in order to get in without being seen. Inside the building firefighters found the structure vandalized and strewn with trash including discarded empty alcoholic beverage containers. There was evidence of people living in the building, including several careless cooking fires. Saturday's fire involved carpeting and furnishings in single room to the rear of the building with evidence it was started by the cooking fires. No one was found in the building and no one was hurt. The urban search and rescue team was called in to secure the holes in the building and breaks in the fencing to make it harder for people to get into the building.
(Photo by Rodney Marquez)
Oxnard police arrested a man late Friday night for driving around downtown firing shots into the air. It happened shortly after 11 PM in the area of 7th and A streets. Officers working the area could hear the gunfire and police received calls from citizens about the gunfire. A white sedan was involved in the incident. Officers located a vehicle matching the description in the area of 4th and A streets. There were four subjects inside. They made a high risk stop on the vehicle and found a loaded semi-automatic handgun inside along with spent shell casings in the vehicle. The driver, 38-year-old Miguel Perez of Oxnard, was arrested for discharging a firearm with gross negligence and for numerous weapons violations, all felonies. Police say Perez was driving around downtown firing the gun into the air. No one was injured. They say this was not gang related. (Photo by Rodney Marquez)
Ventura police say one of their patrol vehicles was damaged when they responded to a report of a large fight on the east end of town early Saturday morning. Around 12:50 AM, officers responded to the 10900 block of Darling Avenue. When they arrived on scene, police say the fight was going on at a large party with more than 50 people in attendance. Officers say that based on the amount of discarded alcohol containers in the yard where the party was being held, they determined a number of people had been consuming alcohol and that some were under the age of 21. Police say that as partygoers left the area, someone kicked a patrol car while another person threw a beer bottle at the unit shattering the rear window. They believe the suspects who vandalized the patrol car fled in a light green SUV. More officers arrived on scene and canvassed the area but the suspects were not found or identified. Police say that because of the fight, the presence of underage drinkers, and the vandalism to the police car, the 19-year-old host was issued a citation under the city's social host liability ordinance. This is the second time in three days a Ventura police vehicle has been vandalized. On Thanksgiving Day another patrol vehicle was struck with a beer bottle thrown from the upper level of the Santa Clara parking structure. An officer was in the vehicle when the passenger window was shattered but was not hurt. The suspects of that vandalism remain at large. Anyone with information related to these crimes is urged to call Ventura Police at 339-4493 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.