Ruiz: Tips lead to SWAT raid on Ventura apartment, suspect not found

August 28, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

What Santa Paula Police hoped would result in the arrest of a murder suspect ended late Thursday with the wanted man not being found at a Ventura apartment, although evidence linked to an area homicide was seized. Two other men, one a Santa Paulan and the other a former city resident, were arrested following the standoff that could have resulted from response to a publicized reward.

According to SPPD Lt. Ishmael Cordero, the department received calls at about 7:30 p.m. August 22 that Omar Ruiz, 26, of Santa Paula, was at an apartment in the 6600 block of Telephone Road where officers were told he had been staying. Ruiz is considered an armed and dangerous parolee and has an outstanding felony warrant alleging drug sales; he is wanted for questioning in connection with the May 27 murder of Ulyses Virto. Ruiz is a documented gang member.

Cordero said, “Multiple tips came into the SPPD regarding the whereabouts of Ruiz, and our detectives with the assistance of Ventura Police located the residence” where tipsters reported Ruiz was staying. Ventura Police and SWAT officers as well as SPPD personnel surrounded the apartment to try to get Ruiz - described by VPD as having a “violent history” - to surrender, but the occupants refused to exit. 

About 30 minutes later, three people walked outside including former Santa Paula resident Robert Vazquez, 34, now of Ventura, and Ricardo Garcia, 28, of Santa Paula. The two were arrested on warrants alleging a probation violation and failing to appear in court on drug charges. The third occupant was released at the scene, police said.

Believing Ruiz was still inside, SWAT officers continued trying to contact him police said, but eventually they discovered he was not inside the apartment. Cordero said Vasquez, although now living in Ventura, is an associate of a Santa Paula gang, and Garcia is a documented gang member. 

After the apartment was cleared, Cordero said it was searched and evidence seized related to a Santa Paula homicide. Officers also found illegal narcotics at the apartment.

Cordero said there is not much doubt that Ruiz had indeed been staying at the apartment: “When you have multiple witnesses calling saying, “Hey, there he is,’ you’ve got some validity to that.”

Ruiz is one of four people who appear on a wanted poster, being sought for one of three separate homicides. The first tip that results in the arrest and conviction of any one of the four will receive a $5,000 reward.

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 direct recorded Tip Hotline, 933-5691. In addition, residents can email tips to the SPPD at

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, Crime Stoppers will pay up to a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and criminal complaint against those responsible for crime.

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