Gunman kills ex-wife, 4 others and himself in California
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A gunman in Southern California fatally shot his ex-wife and a man at a trucking company before chasing after another man, killing him, and then driving to a home where he shot dead a father and daughter during a nearly 40-minute rampage, authorities said Thursday.
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood identified the killer as Javier Casarez during a news conference about the shootings that claimed five victims in Bakersfield, about 90 miles north of Los Angeles.
Casarez, 54, fatally shot himself as a deputy closed in on him shortly after the shooting.
Court records show a divorce between Casarez and his wife Petra Maribel Bolanos de Casarez was finalized in April.
Bolanos recently filed for a change involving child support and custody over the couple’s two teenage children, and the pair had a hearing set for Oct. 11, court records show.
Youngblood said it appears that Casarez targeted every victim, starting with a worker at T&T Trucking, and that domestic violence appears to have played a large part.
“It appears to be there’s more than just husband and wife having a fight because other people were targeted,” he said. “There’s a reason for that and we need to find that reason.”
Casarez likely took his ex-wife to the trucking company against her will and then fatally shot 50-year-old Manuel Contreras with a .50-caliber handgun, authorities said. He shot his ex-wife and then turned the gun on a second man, 50-year-old Antonio Valadez, the sheriff’s department said.
Casarez fired at Valadez as he ran away, but then tracked him down in his car and killed him, the sheriff said.
Casarez then drove to the house of 57-year-old Eliseo Garcia Cazares, who Youngblood identified as a friend. Casarez fatally shot Garcia and his daughter, 31-year-old Laura Garcia.
“She may have tried to intervene to keep the suspect from approaching her father, and he shot and killed both of them,” Youngblood said.
After the shooting at the Garcia home, Casarez carjacked a woman driving with her child. The woman and child escaped, and Casarez drove to a highway where a sheriff’s deputy saw him, Youngblood said.
As the deputy closed in, yelling at Casarez to drop his gun, Casarez fatally shot himself in the stomach, according to graphic body camera footage released by police on Facebook.