Community stunned by tragic
by Kelly Feser Eells
A Casitas Springs man, 43-year-old Michael Back, succumbed
to injuries suffered in an accidental shooting Tuesday night.
Back, after hearing noises outside his Park View Drive home,
placed a .22 caliber handgun in his waistband and stepped outside
to investigate. According to a preliminary report filed by Ventura
County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Ron Nelson, the gun accidentally
discharged, "hitting Back in the leg area."
The victim was taken to Ventura County Medical Center, where,
despite undergoing several hours' of extensive surgery, he was
pronounced dead early Wed. morning.
Ojai Police Dept. dispatcher Belinda Williams acknowledged that,
while "our station did respond," the incident is in
the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Major Crimes unit. Although,
"it appears it has been deemed an accidental shooting."
Residents of this tiny community expressed surprise about the
incident, having heard, in the words of Association to Bypass
Casitas founder Steve Durfee, "absolutely nothing about
Amanda Oakley of Nye Rd. said, "that's weird. You'd think
that, at the least, we would've heard the sirens" (responding
to the scene Tuesday night.) But we didn't hear a thing about
it, no sirens, nothing at all. How strange."
Gary Cross knew "nothing about any shooting," and Durfee,
though he hadn't known Back, was saddened to learn that a neighbor
had died. "You mean he didn't survive?" Durfee asked,
shaking his head. "That's awful, just awful."
The investigation, per Major Crimes unit detectives, is continuing.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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