Woman shot and killed Saturday an
innocent bystander to street fight
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula Times The 39-year-old woman gunned down early afternoon Saturday outside her High Street home was the victim of a stray bullet fired after four people started fighting in the street.
According to Santa Paula Police Lt. Ish Cordero, Norma Elizalde was declared dead at the scene, an “innocent bystander” to an incident that occurred in the street.
The March 29 shooting occurred just minutes before 1 p.m. said SPPD Sgt. Scott Varner.
SPPD Officers responded to the 1200 block of High Street regarding a call of an assault with a deadly weapon and upon arrival found Elizalde outside in a covered carport.
She had been shot once “in the upper body, in the neck area,” said Cordero and officers started emergency CPR to try to revive the woman, but “she succumbed from her injuries... “
Santa Paula Fire EMTs and ambulance paramedics arrived on scene and continued life-saving efforts, but finally Elizalde was declared dead.
Investigators called for backup from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and set up a Command Post, shutting down the streets and requesting residents already home to stay inside and keep their doors and windows locked. Several homes were searched for suspects or evidence.
Cordero said SPPD Investigators learned that the incident began with two subjects who were involved in a physical altercation with two other subjects who were passing by in a dark colored sedan.
“Four people were out there fighting in the middle of the street when multiple gunshots were fired,” one striking Elizalde who Cordero said was “Quite a distance away... at least 50-plus-feet,” from where the shots were fired, causing some residents outside enjoying the mild sunny afternoon to dive for cover.
After the gun was fired, “They all scattered,” two of the subjects running from the scene and the other two leaving the area in the sedan.
Elizalde’s 13-year-old son told his uncle, Elizalde’s brother, who was mowing the lawn when the shots were fired, that his mother had been struck by gunfire.
Elizalde lived with other families at the compound containing several small houses behind a chain-link fence with a gate in front, the yard dotted with flower bushes and shrubbery.
Neighbors were outraged at the brazen crime but fearing possible retaliation, asked that their names not be used.
“Who else fires a gun in the afternoon with kids playing outside? It was punks, gang bangers,” said one man who said his family has lived in the neighborhood for decades.
The area has long had a reputation for crime, but “This used to be a pretty quiet neighborhood, not too many problems,” said a woman who was visiting a relative at the time of the shooting. “But it’s just gone to hell in the last year or so. This is so tragic... they were always such a nice family and to have this happen, it’s like you can’t even go outside now.”
When asked if witnesses are cooperating, Cordero said, “Surprisedly enough, yes they are, they’re coming forward giving us leads we’re following hopefully to the right person or persons.”
The crime is Santa Paula’s second homicide this year; the first murder victim was also a woman, 21-year-old Ashly Moran, found beaten and stabbed to death in Obregon Park on March 15, two weeks before Elizalde was gunned down. Moran’s was the first homicide of the year.
Cordero noted the circumstances of Elizalde’s murder were unusual as well as tragic: “I’ve been here 28 years and this is the first time,” in Santa Paula that an innocent bystander was killed by a stray bullet.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Santa Paula Police Department, 525-4474.
If the caller would prefer to remain anonymous, they can call the SPPD recorded Tip Hotline, 933-5691.
In addition, tips can be emailed to the SPPD at email@example.com
Those with information can also call Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477). The caller may remain anonymous and the call is not recorded.
Ventura County Crime Stoppers can also be contacted by texting “Busted” plus your message to CRIMES (274637).
Crime Stopper Tips can also be sent via the website, www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org
Crime Stoppers will pay up to a $1,000 reward for a tip that leads to a felony arrest as confirmed by the arresting agency.