PORT HUENEME (CBSLA) — Authorities are searching for at least one gunman who opened fire on a Port Hueneme home Tuesday night, leaving a 7-year-old girl in a coma and her pregnant mother wounded.
According to Port Hueneme police, when the girl’s father rushed his daughter, who was shot in the head, to a nearby Ventura County Fire Department station, the firefighters inside refused to come out and help him because they believed they were in danger.
“We believe that they may have felt that they were threatened, or felt that there was still gunfire going on outside of their actual fire station,” Port Hueneme Police Chief Andrew Salinas told reporters at a briefing Wednesday.
Furthermore, Salinas said that when the shooting occurred, neighbors didn’t call 911 because they thought the gunfire was simply illegal fireworks.
According to police, the shooting happened before 10:15 p.m. at a home in the 100 block of East Pearl Street. At least one suspect either drove by or walked up to the home and shot multiple rounds into it, where a couple and their three children were inside.
Maryam Davis and her daughter Kaylanaa Davis, who were in the living room at the time, were both struck by the gunfire. Maryam was three months pregnant.
Police said the father then picked up Kaylanaa and rushed her to nearby Ventura County Fire Station 53, located in the 300 block of North Second Street – roughly 130 yards away from their home.
However, no one came out to help him because firefighters inside the station had heard the gunfire and believed they were in danger, police say.
At that point, police officers were dispatched to the station based on a 911 call from the girl’s mother.
“The call came in as a frantic mother, who was calling that her 7-year-old daughter had been shot,” Salinas said.
Officers arrived at the station to find the girl and mother both with gunshot wounds. Due to the severity of the girl’s injuries, they rushed her in a squad car to the Ventura County Medical Center.
“Unfortunately, the fire department was unresponsive and did not come out, and so we transported the child in a police unit to the local hospital,” Salinas said.
Kaylanaa was then airlifted to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where at last report she was in a coma.
Meanwhile, Maryam suffered two gunshot wounds to the leg and was treated at the scene before being transported to VCMC in stable condition. The condition of her baby was unclear.
Police said that despite several rounds being fired in what is normally a quiet neighborhood, not a single 911 call made by neighbors because people believed the gunshots were illegal fireworks.
“We normally would get numerous calls for service for shots fired, but unfortunately, due to the fireworks in this neighborhood, it made it very difficult to determine if it were actual fireworks or shots being fired in the neighborhood, which we believe delayed the response to this call,” Salinas said.
Police told reporters that the shooting stemmed from a personal dispute and that detectives believe there may have been two shooters because they located multiple shell casings in the street outside the home from two different caliber weapons. There were several bullet holes in the victims’ home.
“We don’t believe this was a random incident, and that somebody in the residence was a target of the shooting,” Salinas said.
The Ventura County Fire Department released a statement Wednesday afternoon stating that firefighters were providing advanced life support services within two minutes after first being notified of the situation outside of the station.
“After thoroughly reviewing our station video footage and the exact timeline of our response, it’s evident that Fire Station 53 responded in a timely, prudent and professional manner to this incredibly dynamic incident,” commented VCFD Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen.
Police are being assisted in their investigation by Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies.