Here’s a roundup of recent incidents and announcements from Ventura County agencies:
Arrests in fatal shooting of Camarillo bystander
Authorities in Santa Barbara arrested five people Thursday in connection with a December shooting at a popular waterfront locale that left a dead Camarillo bystander.
The shooting was reported around 8:40 pm on Dec. 9 near Stearns Wharf and Cabrillo Boulevard, Santa Barbara Police Department officials said. Responding officers found a man with a single gunshot wound who was taken by ambulance to Cottage Hospital.
The victim, 52-year-old Robert Dion Gutierrez of Camarillo, died at the hospital on Dec. 20.
Gutierrez appeared to be an innocent bystander, the department said in Thursday’s release.
The wooden wharf, which extends seaward from State Street at Cabrillo Boulevard, is a popular spot for residents and visitors, with restaurants and shops that overlook the ocean.
During the subsequent investigation, police detectives identified multiple suspects connected to a Santa Barbara criminal street gang, authorities said.
On Thursday, the police department, along with personnel from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices, executed search and arrest warrants at several sites in the city and county.
Four men, all Santa Barbara residents ages 20-22, and a 16-year-old male were arrested during the operation. The adults were to be booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail and the teen was booked into the juvenile hall in Santa Maria, officials said.
No other details were released. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call the Santa Barbara Police Department at 805-882-8900.
Ojai gets new police chief
Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Trina Newman has been selected as Ojai’s next chief of police, city officials said Thursday.
Newman will start the post on Sunday. Ojai contracts with the sheriff’s office for police services, with a new chief typically appointed every two years or so.
Newman will replace Ojai’s former chief, Jose Rivera, who has been promoted to assistant sheriff, officials said. Rivera is serving in the role since January 2020.
“We are incredibly grateful for Chief Rivera’s dedication to our community,” Ojai City Manager James Vega said in a statement. “While his leadership will be missed, we are excited to welcome our new chief of police, Chief Newman, and look forward to working with him.”
Newman, who currently lives with her family in Ojai, started her career with the sheriff’s office in 1998. She has previously served as a sergeant at the Ojai station among her numerous posts with the agency in operations, support and detentions. She has supervised the mounted enforcement unit and incident review team and has been an academy instructor since 2017. Newman also spent several years as a background investigator and was recognized for her efforts to recruit women in 2019, according to the release.
Newman will be welcomed by city officials during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Stabbing suspects arrested
Simi Valley Police Department officials have arrested a man in a stabbing incident at his ex-girlfriend’s residence.
At around 12:30 am Monday, officers respondents to a reported fight in progress inside a residence in the 4100 block of Paredo Way. The block is on the south side of Avenida Simi, east of Tapo Canyon Road.
The initial police investigation determined the suspect, a 38-year-old Moorpark man, had forced entry into his ex-girlfriend’s home and encountered another man. A physical fight between the two men broke out, with the suspect stabbing the victim several times, authorities said.
The suspect fled. The victim was treated at a hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening.
On Wednesday afternoon, police detectives found the suspect near Tapo Canyon Road and Alamo Street. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and felony burglary and remained in the Ventura County jail Thursday evening in lieu of more than $1 million bail, jail records showed.
Theft group members pleaded guilty
Four members of an international theft crew pleaded guilty on Tuesday to first-degree burglaries and conspiracy charges, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office said.
The four codefendants — Laura Espinosa, 26, Kevin Nino, 25, Brayan Taborda, 27, and Johan Zambrano, 37 — are all from Colombia, the prosecutors said.
Another member of the theft group, John Zambrano, 36, also of Colombia, was sentenced in Ventura County Superior Court on Dec. 30 to a year in county jail and 24 months formal probation.
The theft group carried out six burglaries in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, according to the DA’s office. The charged crimes took place in May and June in Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Simi Valley and Westlake Village.
Video evidence from victims and an investigation by the sheriff’s office led to the group, officials said. In some cases, the group targeted homes after appearing as a food or flower delivery driver. In one case, a home was ransacked and more than $15,000 worth of jewelry, watches and high-end purses were stolen.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy DA Brandon Ross, who handles the agency’s international theft group cases.
The four codefendants will be sentenced on Feb. 15.
Items may be updated.
This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Roundup: 5 arrests in fatal shooting of Camarillo bystander in SB, more