Oxnard police are investigating whether or not three homicides and a string of shootings are related, following a spate of incidents that accounted for the seventh, eighth and ninth murders of 2017.
On Tuesday, May 16, Oxnard police responded to reports of a shooting on the 300 block of North G Street, where they found a gunshot victim. Aaron Austin, 29, was taken to the Ventura County Medical Center and pronounced dead upon arrival. Later, at around 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 17, police responded to a report of another gunshot victim on the 5400 block of Perkins Road. Eduardo Viveros, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene.
In the early morning hours of Friday, May 19, the city received its third homicide call when, at around 3 a.m., officers responded to reports of shots fired on the 2700 block of El Dorado Avenue. Jorge Coria, 42, was found shot with several bullets and taken to the Ventura County Medical Center, where he later died.
Oxnard police said that the Austin and Viveros shootings appeared similar, noting that they occurred at relatively the same time, and are investigating whether the shootings are related. Notably, though investigators found Viveros early morning Wednesday, they believe that the shooting occurred around 9 p.m. on Tuesday evening, according to Assistant Police Chief Eric Sonstegard.
Both of the victims were found in an alley outside of their homes as well, but aside from circumstantial evidence, no connections between the two have been found.
Police say that Coria may have had gang affiliations and thus far have not ruled out that association being responsible for his death.
There is no indication that Coria’s death is related to the other two, said investigators.
On Friday, May 19, Oxnard police served search warrants in conjunction with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and Ventura Police Department at a residence believed to be connected to the shootings. There, officers recovered one weapon and several hundred rounds of ammunition. A 14-year-old was arrested while trying to flee the scene.
Again, on Sunday, May 21, a gunshot victim was discovered at Maulhardt Road with non-life-threatening injuries.
Oxnard Police Chief Scott Whitney said in a press release that the department hopes residents will report suspicious activity immediately.
“We take every one of these homicides personally, regardless of the circumstances. Our detectives are working day and night on these cases to bring justice for the victims’ families.”
Anyone with information regarding recent homicide cases in the city is asked to contact Sgt. Alex Arnett at 385-7763. The city of Oxnard offers a $10,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction in homicide cases.