The Ventura Police Department released the following in regard to a murder-suicide that occurred at 11:05 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5. It was later revealed that the suspect, 69-year old Herbert Curtis, was a former Ventura County Superior Court Judge.
On the above date and time, the Ventura Police Department Command Center received a call from a resident in 5500 block of Dorsey St., reporting that her neighbors were involved in a verbal domestic. Officers arrived on scene and attempted to make contact with the individuals inside the residence, when officers heard what they believed to be multiple gunshots coming from inside. Officers moved to a safe location and set up a perimeter around the residence.
The Ventura Police Department’s SWAT team was activated and responded to the location.
Members of the Crisis Negotiations Team made contact with the male inside the residence, later identified as Herbert Curtis. Curtis indicated he was armed with a gun and refused to come outside. The status of the female, later identified as Patricia Payne, was not known at the time. Negotiations continued with Curtis for approximately two hours over the phone, until the SWAT team deployed a listening device into the residence and heard over the speaker Payne indicating she had been shot. When additional gunshots were heard, SWAT team members immediately entered in the residence to rescue Payne. As entry was made into the location, Curtis shot himself. Payne was evacuated and brought to an awaiting ambulance. She was transported to VCMC for treatment of multiple gunshot wounds.
Curtis was pronounced deceased at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Payne later succumbed to her injuries at the hospital.
The Ventura Police Department Major Crimes Detectives responded and took over the investigation. This is an active investigation and the motive for the shooting has not been determined.
No one else was inside the residence at the time of the shooting. For their safety, residents in neighboring residences were evacuated and some remained in the lobby of the Police Department until the incident came to a conclusion.
No officers were injured.