Ojai cops chase, capture suspect
in O.C. murder
by Lenny Roberts
An Orange County murder suspect surrendered to Sheriff's deputies
in Ventura Sunday night after a two-hour, slow- and high-speed
pursuit began in Oak View.
Working patrol in the Oak View area, Deputy Robert Davidson spotted
the suspect and his reportedly stolen vehicle, a white, 1994
Lincoln Town Car that was registered to the victim, at The Corner
Market on Santa Ana and Burnham roads at 6:46 p.m. When the suspect,
Gregory Michael Pisarcik, 25, left the market and failed to yield
to Davidson's request, other deputies joined the pursuit, which
took them down Baldwin Road to Highway 33, through Oak View and
Casitas Springs at mostly slower-than-posted speeds. The pursuit
escalated when the suspect entered the Ojai Freeway. From there,
it was on to the Ventura Freeway, and then on to the 126 Freeway
to Santa Paula, where the suspect allegedly fired a single shot
out the passenger side window. The shot, according to pursuing
deputies, was not aimed at them, said Detective Joe Evans.
Pisarcik then headed back on 126 toward Ventura, and then toward
Santa Barbara. Again, he reversed course back to the Ojai Freeway,
where he exited at Stanley Avenue. Once on Ventura Avenue, he
turned into the OST heavy equipment lot near the De Anza Middle
School at Seneca Street.
According to Eric Nishimoto, Sheriff's Department public information
officer, a deputy's shotgun blast to a tire disabled Pisarcik's
vehicle after it had become blocked by the pursuing patrol cars.
Evans, a member of the Sheriff's Hostage Negotiations Team, arrived
and successfully talked Pisarcik into surrendering peaceably
after a 20-minute standoff.
"(Sheriff's Capt.) Gary (Pentis) asked me to talk to the
guy, and I tried to get him out of the car," Evans said.
"We communicated by hand gestures (because of a low-flying
Sheriff's helicopter circling above), and he complied with my
request to stand in front of the car. He was then arrested by
Pisarcik is accused of killing Narciso Leggs Jr., 53, a retired
special agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Details of their relationship were not revealed, but the cause
of death was.
"He died of blunt force trauma to the head. There was some
torture and mayhem, but I don't want to get in to describing
that," said Orange County Sheriff's Department Public Information
Officer Jim Amormino.
Leggs' body was discovered Saturday morning in a garage apartment
on Irvine Boulevard in an unincorporated area near Santa Ana
after the landlord notified Orange county sheriff's deputies
that he had not seen his tenant for two days. Leggs was found
bound and gagged and violently assaulted, according to information
supplied by the Orange County Sheriff's-Coroner Department.
"The apartment had been ransacked and it is believed personal
property of the victim had been stolen," Amormino said.
The information about the suspect and his vehicle was broadcast
by a Sheriff's dispatcher at approximately 5:45 p.m. Sunday after
local authorities had received information from the Orange County
Sheriff's Department that Pisarcik, considered armed and dangerous,
could possibly be in the area. According to the broadcast, he
was seen exchanging license plates at a Ventura store parking
lot with another white Lincoln registered to a person in Camarillo.
Amormino explained that a young girl saw a man removing the plates
from a car in the Mervyn's parking lot. She alerted her father,
who, in turn, notified the vehicle's owner. The owner then contacted
the Ventura Police Department with the information that led to
the radio broadcast to all county deputies. Orange County authorities
are seeking the identity of the young girl and her father who
witnessed Pisarcik allegedly remove the license plates from the
Ojai detectives are familiar with Pisarcik. According to police
records, he is a transient with former residences in both Orange
and Ojai. He is not employed, but has worked in retail sales,
and has several arrests and convictions for narcotics violations
and the theft of an Ojai businessman's truck and $3,600 in cash
in December 1999. He was booked into Ventura County Jail on suspicion
of felony evading in a vehicle pending his transport to Orange
Ojai substation Administrative Sergeant Ken Edling said he was
pleased with the manner in which deputies handled the incident,
and acknowledged that Davidson, a relatively new officer, was
alert in recognizing the suspect and his vehicle.
"The fact that he was aware and spotted the guy doesn't
surprise me at all," Edling said. "He does a good job,
and we've been very fortunate here; we seem to always get good
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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