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13-year-old Fallbrook boy shot in Vista gang incident dies; case goes to Homicide

The 13-year-old Fallbrook boy who was shot March 31 in a gang-related incident in Vista succumbed to his injuries in an area hospital on Sunday. The investigation into the shooting, previously labeled as an assault with a deadly weapon, has now become a homicide case.

Lieutenant Dennis Brugos of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Division confirmed his agency is now involved.

“We have now teamed up with the North County Gang Task Force in this investigation,” said Brugos. “That will allow for continuity in the case.”

Brugos said no arrests have been made in the case yet, but investigators are being diligent.

“They are putting forth a lot of effort in this case,” he said.

It is believed by detectives that the 13-year-old went to Vista with a brother and a cousin to conduct an act of aggression and/or retaliation following recent assaults made on Fallbrook gang members by some from Vista.

“It’s my understanding that [the Fallbrook gang members went to Vista] looking for trouble,” said Lt. Phil Brust, commander of the Fallbrook Sheriff’s substation. “There were words exchanged and then shots were fired that ended up hitting the 13-year-old.”

The incident took place in the north central portion of Vista referred to as the “Townside” area, which is known for its gang infestation. Detectives at the Vista Sheriff’s Station define the Townside area as follows: southern boundary Vista Village Drive/Vista Way and Olive; northern boundary Bobier Drive; with the area running east and west of North Santa Fe.

Brugos said no major changes will be made in the way the investigation is being handled, as he feels the efforts underway are on track.

“We won’t make a lot of changes at this point, because it’s been actively worked,” he said.

(Previous story - April 2, 2010 - Debbie Ramsey)

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.”


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