Ventura County – California law protects the identities of juvenile offenders, presumably in the interest of preserving the public perception of “the innocence of youth” or in pursuit of some notion of “second chances” for wild-and-crazy kids.
But on the night of November 29th, at approximately 10:00 p.m., when teenagers should arguably not be out running around on the public streets, Santa Paula Police Department’s 911 Emergency Dispatch received multiple citizen calls alerting them to gunfire on a busy downtown street reportedly in the presence of passersby and multiple children nearby.
According to Santa Paula Police Sgt. Ken Clark, officers were immediately dispatched to the scene where a number of putative eye witnesses “advised a subject in the area had a handgun and fired shots in the area where they and several children were standing.” As witnesses described a young man and pointed off in the direction of his flight from the area, SPPD officers quickly established a perimeter and the search was on.
The ensuing investigation led officers to a nearby apartment building where they approached the residents of a particular living unit and discovered “a person matching the description of the suspect” inside. Officers also located a handgun inside the apartment that matched the descriptions of the weapon involved in the shooting provided by witnesses.
Following a positive identification by those who had personally observed the incident on the street, the 16-year old juvenile male was transported to Ventura Juvenile Justice Center were he was booked on charges of negligently discharging a weapon, child endangerment, being a minor in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm with obliterated serial number, and brandishing a firearm.
The identity of the shooter remains undisclosed.
Santa Paula Times: Witnesses identify teen suspected of firing gun