Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Police Chief Comments on Shooting

Statement issued to the OVN by Bruce Norris:
This shooting was a senseless act of violence and disregard for life. It affects not only the victim, but it has a devastating and lasting effect on the family, and it creates fear in the community. The suspect in this case was arrested for the crime within hours of the shooting, and if convicted, he will likely spend many years in prison.

Based on the investigation to this point, the shooting appears to be an
isolated incident caused by an earlier exchange of words. This incident
was uncharacteristic for Ojai, and there is nothing to indicate that
similar incidents are imminent. The Police Department, Probation
Agency and Gang Unit have zero tolerance for gang activity in the Ojai
Valley. Anyone seeing or suspecting gang activity of any kind is asked
to call 911 immediately.


evan austin said...

i think Mr. Norris is an excellent officer.

by that, i mean that he seems to ascribe perfectly to the standard mentality of the Citizen Punishment Complex.

i disagree that this shooting was senseless. i'm more inclined to believe that there was some sort of sense involved...on the part of the shooter, it is a surety that he used SOME rationale to drive his actions. that doesnt mean that i understand it, nor that i agree with it...but my sense is that writing it off as "senseless" attributes the action to being random, unpredictable, and unpreventable. it also dehumanizes the shooter as some kind of violent animal whose actions carry no logic, rather than trying to understand why he percieved that his needs would be best met by shooting another person. to make that choice signals to me a dramatic kind of desperation, and encourages me to be saddened by it.

for similar reasons, i object to outside judgement that the shooter has a "disregard for life." surely he values his own life, and presumably those of his family and friends. so he does regard life. i suggest that we all do. what's tragic is that his need for something ELSE trumped his regard for Mr. Guerra's life. we urgently need to find out what that something was.

Mr. Norris is absolutely correct that this event affects the young man who was shot, his family, and our entire community. it also affects the shooter, and his family and community. by its tone, Norris' comment seems to attempt to put us at ease by writing the threat off because the suspect was captured and will likely be imprisoned. meanwhile, we've ADDED to his list of unmet needs, and still have not addressed the one(s) that drove him to shoot a gun.

Anonymous said...
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Lenny Roberts said...

The OVN will not allow language we determine to be foul, intimidating, offensive, libelous or threatening in comments posted on our blogs. This is not a platform for back-and-forth accusations, and postings we determine to be offensive will be deleted. Strong opinions may be allowed in certain instances at our discretion if not posted anonymously.

evan said...

thank you, Lenny.

Anonymous said...

When my son was attacked, I spoke with the police chief after one of his men insulted my son. My son is the kind of kid who comes back home at 23 to help his Mom out of a financial crunch. He works hard every day and at times worked extra jobs to cover bills at our house. He was at work when I found out about the store video catching the attack. I called the police and then they told me my son didn't want to prosecute. I knew that wasn't true, but the officer who showed up at the crime scene had written that down. My son had so much bruising from blows to his head, we thought his cheekbone was broken at the time and he was dazed when he got home, which he did on his own steam. You would think they would insist on driving a victim who had suffered numerous blows to the head and not let him behind the wheel. No follow-up at all.

Liam drove by the police station 2 days later to find out what was happening and they said nothing until the officer who had 3 days off was back on duty. Sorry for getting sidetracked here but I get so angry just thinking about it. Liam called the station after I told him what they told me and what does the officer say to him? "How old are you? Do you always have your mother make phone for you?" What a rude thing to say to someone who was just victimized! And what do the police say in the paper? Liam has no known gang affiliations. It immediately puts suspicion on my son in the paper. When Liam gets home from work, he's so tired he usually falls asleep on the couch. He had never seen any of the gang members before let alone know any of them. He had simply stopped at the gas station for gas and was washing his windshield. He was ready to prosecute until 4 days after the attack when the police finally called back and told him it would be a misdemeanor and the attackers would get a citation. Why should Liam put his family in danger for that?

Those attackers would have his name and our address. We live on Fulton-a block away from most of the gang problems in Ojai. I talked again with Police Chief Norris and I feel he does nothing more than placate and talk the talk. He does not take action. We saw the video at the gas station. One guy hit my son with the hilt of his knife. We were told it was not considered a weapon because the blade wasn't open. The guy used the hilt to increase the power of his blows on my son. Another one, used the squeegee to hit my son. Sorry. Not a weapon. He and the boy from the gas station waited ten minutes after the fight was over in the locked store before a police car showed up...no lights and no siren. But our friend who had an outstanding late fee on a ticket she had paid two years ago gets hauled into jail for a night. It's ludicrous. And for her - it took two police cars with lights flashing. She told us the cops acted like it was a game. She heard the one who handcuffed her so tightly that she lost feeling in her fingers talk to some pal over the radio. "What'd you get?! What'd you get?!" Easy to arrest a single girl who is clueless to why they even followed them home with two cop cars, but do they do anything about safety in the valley? I don't see it.

They make no effort. They are not interested in follow ups or reports on robberies. You can't even get them to show up when there's one in progress--"We don't usually drive out that far." Shady Lane is too far out? I feel like Ojai Valley is an assignment for police who are ready for retirement and not interested in paperwork or chasing anyone down. Whole lot of show after a shooting happens, but God forbid they show up in time to actually do anything. They're not interested. Captain Norris told me there is a lot the police do that the public never sees. Fine. What the public remembers is their own interaction with had. I haven't heard one positive experience yet where they actually caught somebody or cared enough to help a girl working alone that's being stalked. That tells me right there they could care less. So, sorry for the long version, but don't bother sending the letter on to Norris.

Would I ever call the police in Ojai if I was in danger? No way! You're on your own. That message has come across loud and clear. But, it there is money to be made, they're there in pairs! Our police are nothing more than revenuers. They have absolutely no regard for our safety, and they make sure they get to a crime scene after the danger is past.