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Thursday, Oct 04 2012 08:08 AM

Mobile home riddled by drive-by shooting

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Tehachapi resident Darnell Oliver shows where her curtain stopped a slug from one of nine shots fired into her mobile home just after midnight on Friday, Sept. 28. Photo by Matthew Martz, Tehachapi News

The crack of gunfire turned a normally quiet neighborhood into an instant war zone in the early hours of Friday, Sept. 28.
It happened just after midnight, as residents in the small trailer park at the end of West "J" Street, just north of downtown, were left shocked by a drive-by shooting that narrowly missed a 64-year-old Tehachapi women and her sister.
Darnell Oliver and Judie Jones were watching television in the living room, when Oliver's trailer home was struck nine times by gunfire.
Oliver said she heard what sounded like a loud crash in the rear bedroom, and on going to see what had happened, was met with the terrifying sound of bullets piercing through the walls, and windows of her home. 
“I couldn't see anything, but I could hear the bullets," Oliver said. "I thought oh my god they're shooting, and told my sister to get down on the ground."
One bullet entered a sliding glass door, which just moments before was directly in the line of fire with Jones.
However, the bullet miraculously came to a dead stop after hitting a curtain.
While the incident has left Oliver and her sister shaken, others like neighbor David Duvall are angry.
"Four years ago this trailer park had a bad reputation, "he said."But we've done a lot to get things cleaned up and weeded out to get the place back on track."
"And stuff like this just sets things back to where we were on day one."
Oliver is not sure why her home was targeted, but says it may have something to do with an altercation between a young man that she was trying to help, and two women that followed him to her home on Thursday evening.
Though the shooting itself has Oliver on high alert, she says what's more alarming is how long it took Tehachapi Police officers to arrive.

Oliver said it took around 25 minutes for officers to show up, and once they arrived, they did a check of the immediate area, and then left.

However, Tehachapi Police Chief Jeff Kermode, says his department's first officer was on scene just two minutes after the first 911 call was received.

"We received three calls about the shots being fired,” he said. "One at 00:36:30, one from another caller, almost simultaneously at 00:36:47, and one from the victim at 00:41:18.”

According to Kermode,  the call was dispatched at 00:37:17, less than a minute after being received.

"I cannot tell you why the victim made the statements she did, but we were on scene within two minutes of the original call that came in," he said. "We were on scene for an hour, properly investigating the incident."

Which included taking photographs, collecting evidence, and taking statements.”

Since that time, Tehachapi Police believe they have connected the incident to another that occurred on Sept. 23, but was not reported until Sept. 27.

"We also believe that the same person may have been the intended target in both shooting incidents," Kermode  said. "Our investigation is continuing, people are being interviewed, and evidence is being processed."

The ongoing investigation

According to Sgt. Wyatt Empey of the Tehachapi Police Dept., the investigation of the incident is still open.

He also noted that the department is investigating another gunshot into a window of a unit at The Village apartments. From the trajectory of the bullet hole found in the apartment window, Empey said, the shooting appeared to have come from a residence on nearby "I" Street. Discussion with the people at the residence indicated someone had come by that home looking for an individual about the time that shooting is believed to have taken place, about a week before the incident at Oliver's home.

Empey also said there is speculation that the recent shooting may be related to the murder of Larry Reagan on the Old West Ranch. Reagan was found dead in the early morning hours of Friday, Sept. 28, the same day as the shots were fired at Oliver's home. He had been shot and the investigation into his murder continues.

Oliver said that sheriff's deputies came by her house asking questions and also said that Reagan used to live in the same trailer park.

Further information about these investigations will be reported when available.

CLAUDIA ELLIOTT contributed to this report.

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