An Oxnard transient, Luis Montalvo, 44, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of attempted murder in an apparently random hammer attack that left a 70-year-old Santa Paula in a medically induced coma.

SPPD seeks witnesses, clues in Wakeford Ave. hammer attack

December 07, 2016
Santa Paula News

A 70-year-old Santa Paula man remained in critical condition after being attacked by a man wielding a hammer Saturday near a friend’s home.

An Oxnard transient, Luis Montalvo, 44, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in the incident, which happened at about 10:49 a.m. Saturday, December 3.

According to Santa Paula Police Senior Sgt. Cody Madison, the attack in the 100 block of Wakeford Avenue — west of Palm and south of Santa Paula Street — appears to have been unprovoked. 

“We have no idea,” what the incident stemmed from. 

He said the victim and the suspect, “Didn’t know each other, they weren’t friends, and we don’t know what prompted this whole thing.”

Tim Mason, a retired pilot and lifelong resident of Santa Paula whose family has been involved in aviation for generations, was reportedly getting recyclables out of the trunk of his vehicle when he was struck from behind. 

Madison said the SPPD was notified by “a neighbor” who called 9-1-1 and reported, “Two men were fighting. While en route to the call, dispatch advised that one of the subjects involved had been hit with a hammer and is down in the roadway.” 

When SPPD Officers arrived on the scene they found “The victim was in the driveway,” near his vehicle, “unconscious but moaning in pain,” from several lacerations to his head. 

One of the witnesses pointed out the suspect, Montalvo, who was still in the area. Officers contacted Montalvo and he was taken into custody without incident. The hammer used by the suspect was located in the front yard of a nearby residence. 

Santa Paula Fire EMTs and ambulance paramedics treated Mason on scene before he was transported to the Ventura County Medical Center Trauma Unit. 

Madison said Mason underwent surgery and is now in a medically induced coma. He remained in critical condition as of deadline Monday.  

Madison said such a crime is shocking especially as it occurred, “Right after Thanksgiving right before Christmas.”

Montalvo, Madison noted, has not cooperated with investigators: “He’s not talking, that’s why we’re trying to figure out what went on with the attack. We haven’t seen him around town before, we have no record on him whatsoever.”

Several commenters on social media have written that Montalvo was known in Oxnard as a user of methamphetamine.

Montalvo was transported to the Santa Paula Police Department for processing and later to the Ventura County Jail and charged with the crime of attempted murder. 

The suspect is being held on bail set at $510,000.

If anyone witnessed this incident or has further information on this incident they are asked to contact Detective Randy Haumann at (805) 525-4474 x 211 or at

Information can be given anonymously.

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