The 13-year-old Fallbrook boy who was shot in a gang-related altercation March 31 in Vista, remains in critical but stable condition in an area hospital, said Vista detective Joe Ellis said on Wednesday.
Local law enforcement officials say gang tension has been evident recently between Vista and Fallbrook, but say these incidents appear to be deliberate acts of targeted aggression.
Lt. Pete Callewaert of the Vista Sheriff’s station says that’s what happened on March 31 to the 13-year old who was accompanied by his older brother and cousin.
“These kids went into [this] neighborhood looking for a dispute,” says Callewaert. “If [suspected gang members] want to drive into the geographical area where numerous rival gang members live, they’re looking for trouble.”
“This 13-year-old came with his friends and family looking for trouble,” says Callewaert. “I’m not condoning it; that’s just what happened.”
The area the incident happened is known as the Townside area of Vista, which is near but not on the property where the large Krikorian movie complex and a host of restaurants and shops are located.
As a result, many Village News readers have enquired as to how safe that particular complex is.
“It’s considered a safe environment for youth and young adults, but, just like any other place, parents should take some responsibility for their child’s behavior, that is not just drop them off and drive away; they need guidelines,” says
Callewaert. “My own kids go there a lot. It’s a great place for a movie, meal, coffee, or ice cream.” But Callewaert admits at times there are a lot of youth on the property.
“As is typical, certain nights of the week there is an overabundance of young people and that’s why we have officers nearby,” he says.
The Townside area, Callewaert says is best described by the following boundaries: the southern boundary is Vista Village Dirve/Vista Way and Olive; the northern boundary is Bobier Drive; and the area runs east and west of North Santa Fe.
“It is the north central portion of Vista,” Callewaert says. “The Krikorian complex is not in the Townside area; it is south of it, but only by a few blocks.”
13-year-old Fallbrook boy in critical but stable condition after Vista shooting
A 13-year-old Fallbrook boy is at Rady Children’s Hospital in critical but stable condition after he was shot in the head and leg by suspected Vista gang members.
According to Vista Sheriff’s detective and North County Gang Task Force (NCGTF) member Joe Ellis, the 13-year-old victim, along with his older brother and cousin, both believed to be between the ages of 18 and 20, all residents of Fallbrook, were reportedly on their way to the Krikorian Movie Complex in Vista at approximately 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, when the incident occurred. Near the movie complex, the trio “entered a confrontation” with a larger group of individuals, and shots were fired, said Ellis.
“The shooting did not happen in the movie complex,” clarified Ellis. “The incident occurred in the Townside area [near Vista Way], which is known for Vista gang activity and within the gang injunction safe zone.”
The victim was shot with what was “possibly a shotgun” from a distance “no less than 10 feet,” said Ellis. He was hit once in the leg and once in the head.
“If [the shooting] had been from point blank, the victim would be dead,” said Ellis.
According to the brother and cousin of the victim a “Good Samaritan” drove them to a nearby hospital. Currently, there are no suspects in the case, said Ellis.
“Several witnesses were around, and we are still trying to figure out what happened,” said Ellis.
The NCGTF initially believed the incident was gang-related.
“When beginning the investigation, we thought the shooting was part of a retaliation of [the stabbing and assault] that happened in Fallbrook on Monday, March 29,” said Ellis. “Other than the fact that the victims were from Fallbrook, we have yet to find any links between the Fallbrook street gang and the victims in this incident. However, the situation does seem gang related; anyone who is not a gang member would not have gotten into a confrontation with gang members.”
The case is currently under investigation by Vista Sheriff’s detectives. Anyone with information pertaining to the incident is asked to call detectives Joe Ellis or Roy Mayne at (760) 940-4551.