JOSÉ LUIS VILLEGAS / jvillegas@sacbee.com

Pamela Martinez and grandchildren, from left, Selena, Antonio, Edward and Mackenzie Martinez, offer a prayer near the North Highlands site of Saturday's shooting.

Slaying of 10-year-old girl in North Highlands not an accident, sheriff's office says

Published: Tuesday, May. 21, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Tuesday, May. 21, 2013 - 5:03 pm

The slaying of 10-year-old Elvira Campos as she sat and watched TV on Saturday night in her North Highlands house was not an accident, according to Sacramento County sheriff's homicide investigators.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jason Ramos said the killer or killers who targeted the house could see who was watching TV in the family's living room because there was plenty of ambient light.

Four bullet holes pierced the living room window barely a foot from the back of the girl's head.

"The shooters standing outside the front door absolutely knew they were shooting into a room with a child sitting on a chair on the other side of the window where this guy pumped four rounds into her," Ramos said. "This was especially callous. There was no regard for the child's life."

Investigators are trying to determine what drew the gunmen to the house on Channing Drive.

Ramos said they also are exploring whether the killing of Elvira is linked to the shooting of another 10-year- old child during a birthday party April 20. That 10-year-old victim, Eric Raya-Ramirez, was shot five times while standing in front of a home on Whitecliff Way in North Highlands at about 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, Ramos said.

The home is a mile away from the Campos house where Elvira was fatally wounded and her mother and father injured.

"He lived, but that crime remains unsolved," Ramos said. "A guy shot from inside a car and hit the boy while he was standing next to his teenage cousin."

Witnesses said a black vehicle sped from the scene, Ramos said.

"We have nothing definitive to establish a connection, but that may be why Elvira's family could have been targeted, the mentality being, 'You got our family, we're going to get yours,' " Ramos said.

Ramos said there was nothing Elvira or her migrant worker parents Ernesto Campos, 47, and Imelda Tinoco, 45, could have been involved in that would have made them targets.

"This girl and her parents weren't gang members," he said.

The parents were both wounded – Campos in a shoulder and leg, and Tinoco in an arm – but survived the shootings.

Investigators have interviewed Elvira's 20-year-old brother, who wasn't at home during the shooting. "He has not been forthcoming about any beefs or rivalries he's had with anyone," said Ramos.

The sheriff's spokesman said that brother doesn't have a criminal record.

North Highlands has its share of gang activity, though gang members don't hang out on street corners, Ramos said.

Neighbor Larry Ellis said he has seen his share of crime but was shocked that it appeared the family was targeted.

"In my day there used to be some standards," Ellis said. "You didn't go mess with someone's family."

Cynthia Berman stopped on her early evening walk to take in the memorial of stuffed animals and candles on the front lawn.

"It's sad. How could they do that?" she said. "It makes me scared."

On Sunday morning, while homicide investigators were at the Campos home, an SUV sped down Channing Drive at 70 to 80 mph, Ramos said.

Shots had been fired at the corner of Channing Drive and Stephen Drive from an SUV earlier that morning, Ramos said. No one was hurt.

"When people commit this kind of crime, they talk about it in their social circles. There are people not directly responsible for the shooting who know who is," Ramos said.

Though gang members and other witnesses are reluctant to be labeled snitches by giving law enforcement any information, "in some cases when there's a truly innocent victim, that may be enough motivation for someone to give us a tip," Ramos said.

Anyone having information regarding this incident is asked to contact the sheriff's homicide bureau at (916) 874-5115.

Tip information can also be left anonymously at www. sacsheriff.com, by texting to 274637 (CRIMES) and entering the keyword SSD, or by calling (916) 874-8477.

Call The Bee's Stephen Magagnini, (916) 321-1072. Follow him on Twitter @stevemagagnini. The Bee's Ed Fletcher and José Luis Villegas contributed to this report.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Stephen Magagnini



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