by Cindy Summers
Police reports are provided to us by the Ventura Police Department and are not the opinions of the Ventura Breeze. All suspects mentioned are assumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
No April’s Fool joke
Sergeant Sam Harbert, a 28-year veteran of the Ventura Police Department, is currently on paid administrative leave following a traffic stop in response to a 37-year-old male adult who was making threats. On the morning of April 1, Sgt. Harbert stopped the man at the Ventura County Government Center on Victoria Avenue.
The man got into an altercation with Sgt. Harbert who discharged his weapon. The man was taken to Ventura County Medical Center and underwent surgery. The Sgt., who was wearing a body camera, was also taken to the Ventura County Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
Since the shooting occurred in the parking lot of the government center it is being investigated by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. Ventura police will also be conducting an administrative investigation into the shooting and have not released how the altercation started or how many shots were fired.
Stolen Vehicle Recovery and Arrest
On March 25 at approximately 1:45pm, the Ventura Police Department Command Center received a 911 call from a victim reporting that his vehicle had just been stolen. The victim said his vehicle was left unattended while it was being worked on at a business in the 100 block of Ventura Ave., when the suspect, later identified as 37 year old vagrant Brandon Chamberlain, got into the vehicle and fled.
A short time late, an officer responding to the call saw the vehicle as it was traveling northbound on Highway 101 and followed it onto Highway 33. Once additional officers arrived, a traffic stop was initiated. Chamberlain exited at Shell Rd. and was taken into custody without incident.
While officers were following Chamberlain, he threw a knife out of the vehicle. The knife was later recovered by officers. The vehicle was released back to the victim.
A review of the Ventura County Superior Court website shows that Chamberlain has prior convictions for stolen vehicle, evading arrest and driving under the influence. He is also a post release offender out of Kern County.
Attempted Murder, Assault with a Firearm, Armed Robbery Arrest
On March 25, at approximately 4:30am, patrol officers responded to report of a shooting in the area of the 400 block of East Santa Clara Street. When the first officer arrived on scene, he found the suspect, 24 year old Reuben Vaca, hiding near a planter on Santa Clara Street near California Street. As the officer made contact with him, the suspect was initially uncooperative, and he threw a handgun into nearby bushes. Additional officers arrived and assisted with detaining the suspect. The weapon was recovered.
The subsequent investigation revealed this was a robbery. The suspect had approached two vagrants living nearby, pulled a gun and demanded their property. While he was committing the robbery, a “good Samaritan” heard the commotion and not knowing it was a robbery, attempted to intervene. When he intervened, the suspect turned towards him with the gun and chased him into a nearby vehicle. The suspect began beating his fist on the window and fired 3 rounds at the “good Samaritan”. All three rounds hit the vehicle but none of them struck the victim. After firing the initial 3 rounds, the suspect then turned and fired 2 additional rounds that struck a nearby commercial building. The commercial building was uninhabited. After firing the rounds, the suspect fled on foot and was contacted by officers.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the suspect was arrested for attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, shooting at an occupied vehicle and shooting at an uninhabited building. No one was injured during this incident.
On April 1 at 4:45pm, the Ventura Police Department Command Center received a 911 of a subject in possession of a gun at the Jack in the Box in the 2300 block of Thompson Blvd. The caller, who was a customer inside the business, reported the subject was not threatening with the gun, but said the gun could be seen concealed in his waistband.
When officers arrived on scene, the suspect fled from inside the business and officers pursued him on foot. The suspect, later identified as 27 year old Ojai resident Ronald Zirpolo, began climbing fences into the backyards of nearby residences and officers lost sight of him. A perimeter was quickly set up around the area and with the assistance of Ventura Police K9’s and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department helicopter, a yard to yard search was conducted.
After approximately 1.5 hours of searching, Zirpolo was found hiding inside the garage of a residence in the 300 block of Seaward Ave. He was taken into custody without incident. Zirpolo was found to have an injury to his hand that he sustained while fleeing from officers. He was treated at VCMC and later arrested for resisting arrest, trespassing, prowling and for being a post release offender.
Zirpolo was not found to be in possession of the gun when taken into custody. Officers continued to search backyards and found the gun. The gun was a replica firearm.
A review of the Ventura County Superior Court website shows that in 2016, Zirpolo was convicted of being a felon armed with a firearm with a 2nd strike, felon in possession of ammunition, and grand theft.
On April 5, at approximately 9:45pm, the Ventura Police Command Center received a 911 call for subjects fighting in the 1000 block of E. Santa Clara St. When officers arrived, they were contacted by a clerk from the Asian American Market and told that the suspect, 23 year old James Cobb, came into the store and selected a can of beer from out of the cooler. He went to the counter to pay for it and asked the clerk how much the beer was. When he heard the price, he began to argue with the clerk verbally. He then removed a one dollar bill from his pocket put it on the counter and left the store, not paying the full price for the beer.
The clerk followed Cobb outside the store and confronted him for the remainder of the money. Cobb stopped and attacked the clerk, and the two started fighting in the street. Eventually, Cobb broke away from the fight and threw the beer can at the clerk. He then ran south on Kalorama St. and into a residence.
The officers determined which home Cobb ran into and made contact with him at the front door. Cobb cooperated with the officers and came outside of the residence where he was arrested for the felony robbery.