Here is a summary 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 beach spot that left a Camarillo fan dead.
The shooting was reported around 8:40 p.m. 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, Robert Dion Gutierrez of Camarillo, 52, died at the hospital on December 20.
Gutierrez appeared to be an innocent bystander, the department said in Thursday’s release.
The wooden pier, which stretches seaward from State Street to Cabrillo Boulevard, is a popular spot for residents and visitors, with restaurants and shops overlooking the ocean.
During the subsequent investigation, police detectives identified several 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 locations in the city and county.
Four men, all Santa Barbara residents aged 20-22, and a 16-year-old man were arrested during the operation. The adults were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail and the teenager was booked into the juvenile facility in Santa Maria, officials said.
No other details have been 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 is getting a new police chief
Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Trina Newman has been selected as Ojai’s next police chief, 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 former Ojai Chief Jose Rivera, who was promoted to assistant sheriff, officials said. Rivera has served 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 her leadership will be missed, we are excited to welcome our new police chief, Chief Newman, and look forward to working with her.”
Newman, who currently lives with his family in Ojai, began his career with the sheriff’s office in 1998. He previously served as a sergeant at the Ojai station among his many positions with the agency in operations , support and detentions. He oversaw 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 his efforts to recruit and women in 2019, according to the release.
Newman will be welcomed by city officials during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Arrested a stabbing suspect
Officials with the Simi Valley Police Department have arrested a man in a stabbing incident at his ex-girlfriend’s residence.
Around 12:30 a.m. Monday, officers responded to a reported fight in progress at 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 that the suspect, a 38-year-old Moorpark man, had allegedly forced his way into his ex-girlfriend’s home and encountered another man. A physical struggle between the two men broke out, with the suspect stabbing the victim multiple times, authorities said.
The suspect fled. The victim was treated at a hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
On Wednesday afternoon, police detectives found the suspect near Tapo Canyon Road and Alamo Street. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and burglary and remained in the Ventura County Jail Thursday night in lieu of more than $1 million bail, jail records showed.
The members of the robbery group pleaded guilty
Four members of an international theft crew pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree theft and conspiracy charges, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office said.
The four co-defendants — Laura Espinosa, 26, Kevin Nino, 25, Brayan Taborda, 27, and Johan Zambrano, 37 — are all from Colombia, prosecutors said.
Another member of the robbery ring, John Zambrano, 36, also of Colombia, was sentenced in Ventura County Superior Court on Dec. 30 to one year in county jail and 24 months of formal probation.
The burglary group carried out six robberies in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, according to the DA’s office. The alleged crimes took place in May and June in Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Simi Valley and Westlake Village.
Video evidence from the victims and an investigation by the sheriff’s office led to the group, officials said. In some cases, the group targeted homes after posing 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 theft group’s international cases.
The four co-defendants will be sentenced on February 15.
Items may be updated.
This article originally appeared in the Ventura County Star: Roundup: 5 arrests in fatal shooting of Camarillo bystander in SB, more