Officer critically wounds man in shooting at Government Center

On Monday, April 8, a Ventura Police Department officer shot a suspect during an altercation that took place in the parking lot of the Ventura County Government Center.

Police say that Ventura resident Christopher Hays, 37, made multiple phone calls to the Ventura Police Department around 8:30 a.m. with threats to bomb the police station and area schools. Hays was not home when police visited his residence. Two hours later, Ventura Police Sgt. Sam Harbert spotted Hays pulling into the Government Center parking lot, where he made contact with the suspect.

Hays allegedly refused to comply with Harbert’s verbal commands, instead assaulting him with the officer’s own baton. Harbert attempted to use his stun device but failed, following which he shot Hays twice in the abdomen, where he remains in critical condition.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office will conduct the investigation into the shooting since it occurred on county property. Meanwhile, Harbert is on administrative leave, which is standard procedure following a shooting, as the department conducts its own administrative investigation.

Man found hiding in Ventura garage following epic manhunt

A police helicopter, dogs and multiple units were deployed on Monday, April 8, when a man with a gun was reported at a midtown fast food restaurant.

The afternoon incident began at Jack in the Box on Thompson Boulevard when a customer reported that a man with a gun in his waistband was inside of the restaurant. When officers arrived on the scene, police say that 27-year-old Ojai resident Ronald Zirpolo fled on foot.

Officers chased Zirpolo through residential backyards along Seaward Avenue and conducted yard-to-yard searches. After a two-hour search, Zirpolo was found hiding in a garage on the 300 block of Seaward Avenue.

The reported gun allegedly held by the suspect was recovered in a backyard and found to be a replica.

Zirpolo was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, trespassing, prowling and being a post-release offender stemming from a past firearm conviction. 

Ventura dentist heads to court in college admissions scandal

Fallout continues from the nationwide college admissions scandal, this time involving a dentist with a practice located in Ventura who appeared in court on Wednesday, April 3.

Dr. Homayoun Zadeh is accused of having agreed to pay $100,000 for his daughter’s admission to the University of Southern California as a lacrosse recruit. Zadeh, a Calabasas resident, works part-time at Brighton Specialty Dental Group on Ralston Street in Ventura, is a member of the Santa Barbara-Ventura County Dental Society and is a former chair of USC’s Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry.

The college admissions scandal embroiled over 100 influential people across the country including celebrities such as Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli.

The investigation was undertaken by the FBI who alleged that Zadeh portrayed his daughter as an experienced lacrosse player at two teams in Los Angeles, which was not true. The FBI’s complaint alleges that Zadeh bribed USC Senior Associate Athletic Director Donna Heinel, who submitted Zadeh’s daughter to the USC subcommittee for admission.

Cockfighting raid leads to five arrests in Oxnard

Five Oxnard residents have been arrested following a March 31 raid on a suspected cockfighting ring in the city.

More than 60 live birds were confiscated and four roosters were found dead with injuries consistent with cockfighting, according to an official release.

Ventura County Animal Services assisted in recovering the birds used to fight. Police say that cockfighting paraphernalia were found on the premises including razor blades and scales used to weigh birds.

The Sheriff’s Department says that they were tipped off by a Nyeland Acres resident and that incidents should be reported to your local law enforcement agency, Crime Stoppers or animal control.

Man found dead under Moorpark overpass (UPDATED) 

UPDATE 4/16/2019: California Highway Patrol Officer Marin says that the investigation is ongoing. 

When the California Highway Patrol responded on Tuesday, March 26, to reports of a disabled vehicle where State Route 23 transitions into Highway 118, they found the driver dead on the street below.

The man, identified as 62-year-old Chatsworth resident Eddick Telime, was found on Princeton Avenue below the overpass in Moorpark.

Traffic on the 118 was temporarily disrupted, while Princeton Avenue between Spring Road and Nogales Avenue was closed as an investigation ensued. 

The California Highway Patrol is asking that anyone with further information on the driver or the incident to call 805-553-0800.

Ventura man arrested for attempted murder in early morning incident

An early morning altercation between a man, two homeless individuals and a Good Samaritan has resulted in an attempted murder charge.

The Ventura Police Department says that Reuben Vaca, 24, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and armed robbery following the incident. On Monday, March 25, police say that Vaca robbed two homeless people on Santa Clara Street. During the altercation, an onlooker attempted to intervene but was chased away by Vaca, who fired several shots at his vehicle as the man attempted to escape.

Police arrested Vaca, who was found hiding nearby.