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PUBLIC SAFETY: REGIONAL EDITION
5 shots fired in March 15 incident, authorities say

UNION-TRIBUNE

March 25, 2008

OCEANSIDE: Police have concluded that an off-duty San Diego police officer fired five shots at a woman's car in the parking lot of a Lowe's store in Oceanside earlier this month.

The shooting March 15 culminated an apparent road-rage incident that may have begun when one of the drivers cut off the other. The officer, Frank White, 28, was driving with his wife.

Yesterday, Oceanside Lt. Fred Armijo said White shot Rachel Silva, 27, twice in the arm and her 8-year-old son in the knee. Silva's son was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Police said Silva declined to speak with investigators yesterday.

In a news release, police said Silva and White's wife called 911 about the same time during the incident, which occurred about 9:15 p.m. on Old Grove Road near state Route 76.

Armijo said police have obtained surveillance tapes from a nearby Shell gas station and hope to enhance the footage. No charges have been filed. –M.R.

Parents thwart kidnap attempt on son; man held

SAN DIEGO: A man was arrested last night, minutes after parents reported that he tried to kidnap their son at a video store in the Bay Terraces neighborhood of southern San Diego.

The family called police about 8:55 p.m. from Blockbuster Video store on Paradise Valley Road near Woodman Street. They said a white man with curly hair and a scruffy, dark beard tried to grab their 8-year-old son.

The parents intervened, and the man started to leave on a bicycle. Then he reportedly tried to pull a child from a van. Officers who arrived at the scene arrested a man, who was identified by the first boy's father, San Diego police said. –P.R.

2 shooting victims found being taken to hospital

SPRING VALLEY: Two men were shot and wounded in the La Presa neighborhood early yesterday.

Both victims were en route to the hospital in separate vehicles when deputies found them.

Sheriff's deputies were called to Canyon Road near Harness Street about 12:30 a.m. after reports of gunfire, sheriff's officials said.

Deputies found one man who had been shot three times. Another man in a vehicle nearby at Sweetwater Lane and Jamacha Road also had been shot, a sheriff's spokesman said.

The men told deputies they were in a group in front of an apartment on Canyon when two men walked up and opened fire, then ran. –D.F.B.

Shots fired after police answer loud-music call

SAN DIEGO: A man was arrested yesterday morning after shots were fired in an alley behind a home in Logan Heights.

Officers were called to Franklin Avenue near Ocean View Boulevard about 5:30 a.m. after someone complained about loud music, San Diego police Lt. Karen Tenney said.

When police arrived, they heard at least six gunshots coming from the back of the house, Tenney said.

Three men and a woman came out of a dwelling behind the home. Police also removed a 1-month-old child, Tenney said. One man refused to come out and remained in a bathroom. He surrendered about 40 minutes later and was taken into custody.

Shell casings were found in an alley and a handgun was recovered, police said. No one was injured. –G.G.

Driver gets out of vehicle, stabs woman at store

SAN DIEGO: A woman was stabbed yesterday in front of a Target store in the neighborhood of Redwood Village, near the Lemon Grove city limit.

She was attacked about 11:15 a.m. by a woman who drove a silver Jeep to the store on College Avenue near College Grove Drive, San Diego police said.

The woman got out of the Jeep, approached the other woman and stabbed her, police said. The woman with the knife was arrested, police said. –D.F.B.

Clerk struck in scuffle with pair stealing beer

EL CAJON: A gas station clerk was hit on the head last night as he fought two people stealing beer, El Cajon police said.

One robber, about 17, escaped. Police arrested a 26-year-old National City man about a block away.

The two reportedly entered the Exxon convenience store on El Cajon Boulevard at Marshall Avenue about 5:50 p.m. and took several cases of beer, El Cajon police Lt. Ron Smithson said. A clerk chased after the two when they left without paying. In a fight outside, the clerk was hit on the head and the two ran away, Smithson said. –P.R.

Gunman ambushes car leaving park; no one hurt

SAN DIEGO: Gang detectives are looking for a gunman who opened fire on a carload of people Sunday night as they were leaving a park near City Heights.

Four people – a man, woman and two children, ages 6 and 9 – were pulling out of the parking lot shortly before 8 p.m. at Azalea Park on Violet Street near Pepper Drive. A man stepped out from behind a bush and began firing, hitting the vehicle three times, police Sgt. Bob Dare said. No one was hit.

The gunman was described as a black man in his mid-20s to early 30s, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, and about 170 pounds. He wore a blue shirt and blue shorts. He may have left the area with three other black men in a gray SUV with large rims, Dare said. –G.G.

Driver facing DUI charges after 6 are injured in crash

FALLBROOK: A man suspected of drunken driving slammed head-on into a van carrying a family of five on Sunday, authorities said.

A 31-year-old man from Lakeside was driving a 1994 Ford Mustang west on East Mission Road at Valentine Lane about 1:30 p.m. when he veered into the path of a 1990 Ford Aerostar traveling the other direction, said California Highway Patrol Officer Eric Newbury.

The 45-year-old driver of the van was injured, as well as his 46-year-old wife, his 11-year-old son, and two daughters, ages 10 and 17. The driver of the Mustang was also injured, Newbury said.

The Mustang driver faces felony DUI charges, Newbury said. –D.F.B.

Gang felt harassed by police, detective testifies

NORTH COUNTY COURTS: A teenager charged in the slaying of Oceanside police Officer Dan Bessant told detectives that he fired a rifle equipped with a scope six to seven times at the officer because police had been harassing his gang, a detective testified yesterday.

Meki Gaono, 19, ran home, hid the rifle in his backyard shed and removed his outer clothing, Oceanside police Detective Sylvia O'Brien said.

The testimony came during the preliminary hearing in Vista Superior Court for Gaono and fellow gang members Jose Compre, 17, and Penifoti Taeotui, 17, who are charged with murder.

Gaono confessed to the slaying in an interview with police at Juvenile Hall three days after the shooting on Dec. 20, 2006, O'Brien testified.

During the interview, Gaono refused to identify who fired a .22-caliber revolver at the officer. O'Brien said Gaono hid the revolver in a kitchen drawer.

A third gun, a 9 mm pistol that was found March 15 in a neighbor's backyard, is being tested at the sheriff's crime lab to determine whether it is linked to the case.

The hearing, which has stretched into its fourth week, is expected to end today after the attorneys make closing arguments. Judge Runston G. Maino will then rule whether enough evidence exists against the three for a trial. –K.D.

Engine fire destroys car, damages nearby vehicles

SAN DIEGO: One car was destroyed and five vehicles were damaged in a fire in the Embarcadero yesterday morning.

The cars were parked in a lot at North Harbor Drive and West Broadway, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque said.

The blaze started in the engine compartment of a Volkswagen Jetta, and the car was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived just before 5 a.m., Luque said. Crews had the fire out in about 20 minutes.

A vehicle parked next to the Jetta was heavily damaged and four others had minor damage. The damage has been estimated at $125,000, a fire department dispatcher said. –D.F.B.


Staff writers Matt Rodriguez, Pauline Repard, Debbi Farr Baker, Greg Gross and Kristina Davis contributed to this report.



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