Local psychologist encounters gunman, chase

By JESSICA WESTON, News Review Correspondent

Whatever the circumstance, many in Ridgecrest remember where they were when they first heard about last Friday’s tragic chain of events, and each has a story to tell.

Dr. Kevin Seymour’s story is scarier than most. He passed in close proximity to the mayhem twice. Driving into town, he said, he encountered the pistol-waving gunman Sergio Munoz racing in the opposite direction.

Later Seymour arrived at Center for Personal and Family Counseling on West Atkins Avenue only to discover that his workplace was just down the street from the homicide scene the gunman had fled.

“About 7:15 [a.m. I was] coming down South China Lake [Boulevard],” Seymour said. “Out there by the White Star I saw about 15 police cars chasing some guy down the street.

“So I pulled over to the right, and this black muscle car was coming up the road. He swerved into my lane and was waving a gun out the window. A pistol. And I ducked. I dropped down to the seat.”

Stopped beside the road, Seymour acted quickly.

“I realized I was a likely target. I just lay down flat on my seat, as far as the seatbelt would let me, so he wouldn’t have a target. I didn’t hear any shots.”

Whatever was going on, Seymour surmised, “was not a good thing. People do not wave guns with 15 people chasing them. I assumed he was a murder suspect when I saw a gun waving.”

Once Seymour got to work, he was in for another surprise. He saw that the street was cordoned off around what was “obviously a crime scene.

“I assumed almost immediately that something had happened there and they were chasing the guy.” Correctly guessing that the gunman he had encountered on the road was connected to the crime scene down the street, Seymour got on with his day. Around 7:45 a.m., he said, “I went to work. I figured the perpetrator was gone.”

“The street was closed off when I got here,” said CPFC’s Office Manager (and Seymour’s wife) Nancy Keating, who arrived some time later.

“I didn’t know until Kevin came out of his session and said that he had almost got shot.

“I know this neighborhood is not the best,” she said. “We had just dealt with the cops on Sunday because of a break-in.

“I wouldn’t say I’m traumatized,” she said. “I’m glad [my husband] is OK.”

Looking back, Seymour described his state of mind during the event as “not scared but reflexive.”

A Ph.D. psychologist, he puts the whole tragic chain of events in a larger perspective.

“I think what we are going to mostly see is the anger and the frustration,” he said about public reaction to a tragedy. “People will respond with a sense of shock and disbelief, and they’ll tend to catastrophize.

“It’s horrible, [but] people feel like they have to control the environment and they have to learn to control themselves.”

He say

is he would tell them to focus on what they can control. “It’s pretty safe here,” he said.

Seymour added that the experience does not change his opinion of Ridgecrest.

“Bad things happen everywhere. I know that. I’m not freaked out by it happening here. I’m from Boston, so it doesn’t seem dangerous here.”

Story First Published: 2013-10-30