Man, Woman Fatally Shot in Suspected Murder-Suicide in Ventura: Police

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(Credit: Tex Texin/flicker via Creative Commons)

(Credit: Tex Texin/flicker via Creative Commons)

A man involved in a standoff with Ventura police officers that began late Sunday night fatally shot a woman before turning the gun on himself, authorities said Monday.

Officers initially responded to the 5500 block of Dorsey Street around 11:05 p.m. after a resident called to report her neighbors were involved in a verbal altercation, according to a Ventura Police Department news release.

When officers arrived on scene, they attempted to contact the individuals inside the home. Police then heard apparent gunshots from inside the home, prompting them to move to a safe location and set up a perimeter, according to the release.

Some neighbors were evacuated.

A SWAT team responded to the location, and embers of a crisis negotiation team were able to make contact with the man inside the home, identified as 69-year-old Herbert Curtis, police said.

Indicating he was armed with a gun, Curtis refused to leave residence, according to the release. At that point, the status of a woman inside the home, 54-year-old Patricia Payne, was unknown.

Authorities continued to negotiate with Curtis for about two hours before the SWAT team deployed a listening device in the residence and heard Payne indicating she had been shot, police said.

SWAT officers then heard additional gunshots, and immediately went into the home to try and rescue Payne, the release stated.

As they entered, Curtis turned the weapon on himself, according to police.

He died at the scene of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the release stated.

Payne was transported to an area hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. She later died of her injuries.

No officers were hurt.

Curtis was a retired Ventura County Superior Court judge, who was first appointed to the county’s Municipal Court by Gov. George┬áDeukmejian in 1984, the Ventura County Star reported. Prior to his time on the bench, he was a deputy district attorney with the Ventura County DA’s office.

The newspaper reported that Curtis and Payne were in a relationship.

A motive for the shooting was not immediately known, and the case remains under investigation.


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