Rash of Deadly Shootings in Orosi

October 27, 2008 7:23:48 PM PDT
The Tulare County Sheriff is revealing new information in the series of shootings that killed three people in the small town of Orosi.Three homicides in one weekend prompted the sheriff to fly into Tulare County from out of town to talk to investigators. The rash of shootings in just 24 hours left two teenage boys and a 37 year old woman dead.

Sheriff Bill Wittman said the rash of murders this weekend in Orosi is terrible and puzzling to officers.

Sheriff Wittman says "Juveniles walking up to other juveniles and shooting them dead in the street-- we don't know why or how. To take someone's life because of the color of the shirt he had on or what kind of hand signal he may have sent out is absolutely insanity.

The shootings took place during three separate shootings, all in a 24-hour time span.

Wittman says "Some of these may be gang-related because of the flashing of the gang signs and the attire that some of the victims were wearing."

The shooting deaths of two teens in an Orosi neighborhood near Ave 416 and Road 128 has left many people scared to walk down the street to the local market.

Cecilia Frausto says "I just stay home. It's best for everybody." Another neighbor says "It used to be peaceful right here but everything is changing. It's getting bad."

Cutler-Orosi Unified School Distrist officials say students and staff are grieving the loss of 16 year-old Daniel Meza, a student at Orosi High School. Administrators called parents telling them students were allowed to stay at home if they felt unsafe.

About 40% of the district's students didn't show up for classes, including Cecilia Frausto's younger brother and sister.

Frausto says "All the shcool said that if the parents feel that the kids were not safe at school to not send them at all, that they were going to be excused."

Three shootings this weekend left three people injured and three dead.

The first shooting took place Saturday night near Avenue 416 and Road 128. On Sunday night, officers say a 13 and 16 year old were shot while walking near the same intersection. The 16-year old Orosi student died, the 13 year old is in stable condition.

Just 20 minutes later, officers were called to 2nd and Orosi Drive where they found two women shot. One of them, 37-year old Rocio Martinez, was dead.

Sgt. Chris Douglass of the Tulare County Sheriff's Office says "We found out that those people were actually transported in a private vehicle to that location trying to get away from a driveby shooting that happened in another location.

When deputies arrived there they found the deceased woman's husband had also been shot. As of Monday afternoon he was listed in critical condition.

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