On Sunday, September 4, 2016 at 11:35 a.m., officers with the Ventura Police Department’s Patrol Task Force received information that a wanted subject was possibly in a vagrant camp in the Santa Clara River near the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Olivas Park Drive. It was also reported the wanted subject was armed with a firearm. Additional officers, along with a Ventura Police K-9, responded and started a search of the river bottom area.
During the search, officers saw a subject matching the description of the wanted subject walking with a pit-bull and attempted to contact him. The subject, later identified as James Dalton, 44, fled further into the river bottom. Officers lost sight of Dalton, but continued the search and soon found a large vagrant camp. This was an elaborate “trench” type encampment in heavy growth which was several feet long and covered to conceal it from view from above ground. As officers approached the camp, a large pit-bull ran from inside the trench and aggressively charged towards the officers. Fearing they were going to be attacked, two officers discharged their firearms and shot the pit-bull, which immediately retreated back into the trench.
After several minutes, officers could hear Dalton from inside the trench. Dalton was directed by officers out of the trench and taken into custody without further incident. He was later transported to the Ventura County Jail and booked for a felony violation of parole warrant and resisting arrest. Ventura County Animal Services responded to the scene and took custody of the pit-bull, which sustained non-life threatening injuries to its leg. No officers were injured.