Halloween marred by violence in Ventura

by Kim Lamb Gregory (Ventura County Star)
November 2, 2009


Ventura had six violent incidents Halloween night, one of them gang-related and one police suspect was gang-related. Two took place at or near large Halloween parties.

“We knew Halloween was going to be crazy, so we had extra officers on duty,” said Ventura Police Department spokesman Lt. Tom Taylor. “The people downtown were fairly well-behaved … down there with all the bars open.”

Ventura police increased the number of officers on patrol from 16 to 18 on a typical Saturday to 22.

Officers were also prepared for what Ventura Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jack Richards described as an increase in gang activity over the past few years on Halloween night.

Actual numbers of gang-related calls or incidents over the past few Halloweens were not available, but Richards said this year in particular seemed heavy in gang activity, and he’s not sure why.

One incident Ventura police are convinced was gang-related were the stabbings of Christian Torres, 22, and Gerardo Salgado, 21, both of Ventura.

Salgado was in stable and good condition and Torres was in stable and fair condition Sunday night at Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura. Police were called to the 200 block of Center Street off of Ventura Avenue at 3:15 p.m. Saturday. Torres was found lying in the street and was transported to Ventura County Medical Center by ambulance.

As detectives were investigating Torres’ stabbing, Salgado arrived at the same hospital after being driven by another individual. Police said both were stabbed during the same altercation.

Both stab victims were rushed to surgery with at least 10 stab wounds. Ventura police officers believe the gang involved is from outside Ventura County, and police believe there are witnesses and hope they come forward.

Police are also looking into gang connections in the shooting of Bryan Estrada, 19, of El Rio. Estrada was shot at least once in the torso after he got into an argument with several other males at a party in the 600 block of Tierney Street in Ventura around 1 a.m. Sunday.

According to witnesses, one of the males at the party brandished a handgun and fired at least one round into Estrada’s body. Estrada was taken by private vehicle to Ventura County Medical Center, where it had not been determined whether his injuries were life-threatening.

Another incident involved the stabbing and robbery of Ventura resident Ignacio Angulo, 29, on Saturday night about 11:30 p.m. Police say Angulo was walking on Petit Road just south of Telegraph Road when three males in a light-colored SUV pulled up alongside Angulo and forced him into their vehicle.

After holding Angulo at knifepoint and robbing him of his personal property, they stabbed him in the lower back and pushed him out of the SUV, then drove off.

Angulo was able to get to his home, which was nearby, and family members drove him to Ventura County Medical Center. His injuries appeared to be non-life-threatening.

Police are also investigating the beating of a 17-year-old Ventura resident around 1:35 p.m. Saturday at a party in the 6600 block of Albatross Avenue. The teen was struck in the head and face several times with a heavy pipe.

Officers found the victim bleeding in the street while responding to calls of a disturbance in the area. Officers found another injured victim in a house nearby.

Both of the victims were taken to Ventura County Medical Center. Their identities and conditions were unavailable.

Police are looking for two male suspects in connection with a robbery that occurred at 1:27 a.m. Sunday morning at Monmouth Avenue and Pierpont Boulevard.

Kalia Randall, 20, of Ventura was getting into her parked car when two males approached her and grabbed her purse. They took off on foot, then reportedly got into a small black sedan. The suspects were described as being in their 20s with medium builds.

Downtown Ventura was orderly except for an incident that coincided with the bars’ closures around 2 a.m. Sunday.

Oxnard resident Vincent Ramirez, 19, got into a fight with another male in the 500 block of East Main Street. When officers tried to intervene, Ramirez attempted to punch Ventura police Officer Greg Knupp, police said. Witnesses said Ramirez was intoxicated. Knupp was able to dodge the punch and took Ramirez into custody. Ramirez was booked into county jail on charges of assault on a police officer.

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