Persistent investigation by SPPD results in arrest for unprovoked shooting

March 26, 2008
Santa Paula Police Department

Persistent investigation by Santa Paula police detectives paid off with the March 20 arrest of a known area gang member for the unprovoked shooting in the head of a former city resident that left the victim mostly confined to a wheelchair.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesPersistent investigation by Santa Paula police detectives paid off with the March 20 arrest of a known area gang member for the unprovoked shooting in the head of a former city resident that left the victim mostly confined to a wheelchair.Detectives from the Santa Paula Police Department arrested David Benavides Aguilar, 19 years of age, a known Santa Paula gang member and resident of Santa Paula, for attempted murder at Ventura County Jail where he is currently being held on unrelated weapons and vandalism charges. In addition to the attempted murder charge, Aguilar was arrested for committing the crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang and the intentional use of a firearm resulting in great bodily injury.The shooting occurred on Friday, October 27, 2006 at about 7 p.m. near the corner of Palm Avenue and Santa Barbara Street when the then-17 year old victim, who had recently moved to Oxnard from Santa Paula, was riding in a vehicle containing several other family members. Two men walking southbound on Palm Avenue approached the vehicle, words were exchanged, and one suspect shot three or four times at the victims’ vehicle - narrowly missing a toddler in the back seat - before the two fled the area on foot.Witnesses told SPPD investigators that the suspects, described as male Hispanics wearing dark clothing, had asked Mendez “where he was from,” a question when asked by gang members that is often a precursor of violence. According to SPPD Chief Steve MacKinnon, such cases “always remain a priority,” and although Sergeant Ishmael Cordero and Detectives Wally Boggess and Alan Macias were not working the case full time, “they never gave up and always stayed focused on this case.”The attack was a “serious shooting... the victim is nowhere near recovery and is not expected to. There is some movement” that at times allows the victim to use a walker, but “it’s going to affect him for the balance of his life.”One other victim was hit by gunfire but recovered fully, said Cordero, “but, of course, there’s always that long-term psychological effect especially on the youngster. When we did the trajectory, if the victim hit in the head had not have been injured the way he was that baby would have been struck by a bullet.”
Aguilar had been a suspect a “year and a half” for a shooting that Cordero said “had no motive. It was just one of those random acts... these persons were just significant targets to these guys who were out and about... it was one of these random things, as much as I hate to say it.”SPPD officers were familiar with Aguilar, with whom they had previous contact. Jailed since December 2007, when he was arrested by the SPPD on a weapons charge during the course of a probation search on another area gang member, the vandalism charge stemmed from a Ventura County Sheriff’s Department case. When Aguilar was arrested “he was very surprised,” noted Cordero.The SPPD has been working with the District Attorney’s Office on such gang-related crimes so “enhancements are tagged on to the charge, resulting in longer sentences they normally would receive. The SPPD has been filing a lot of those charges lately. We have been educating officers to be gang experts assigned to work with the DA’s office to work with them on gang-related crimes,” and Cordero said the program has proven to be “a good tool for us and for the community as a whole.”Cordero credited the arrest to a “combination of citizens that had come forth, the evidence, and just good old hard detective work on behalf of the investigators that worked on this case.”“The amount of work that the three detectives did - we only have a four member unit and a supervisor - while not working on it exclusively had an incredibly large number of hours” devoted to the case, said MacKinnon. “They traveled through the state doing interviews” and working other aspects of the case so charges could be filed against Aguilar.During the course of the investigation “We definitely didn’t find an issue where the victim was being sought out” or targeted prior to the shooting.... Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is very true in this instance.”Due to the seriousness of this crime, Aguilar’s bail was set at $1,000,000 and he remains in custody at Ventura County Jail. Aguilar has not yet appeared in court, but MacKinnon said “he should be in the near future,” as the case is being processed.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.