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13 April 2024

Mass shooting in California tied to domestic dispute

Photo: AP


A man who killed five people, including his wife, in California before taking his own life had been in the midst of a contentious divorce, authorities said Thursday.

"It appears that the suspect targeted each of his victims," Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told a news conference in Bakersfield, where Wednesday's deadly rampage took place.

Javier Casarez (AFP)

He said the shooter, identified as Javier Casarez, 54, was in divorce proceedings and his wife had recently filed legal papers related to child support and property.

The tragedy unfolded after Casarez arrived at a trucking company in southeast Bakersfield at around 5:18 pm, accompanied by his wife, Petra Casarez, Youngblood said.

The couple confronted a man at the business. Javier Casarez shot the man and then turned the gun on his wife and shot her. He then chased another man and gunned him down too, Youngblood said.

Casarez then went to a house where he shot a 31-year-old woman and her father.

A standoff between officers and Javier Casarez, 54, moments before he fatally shot himself during a confrontation in Bakersfield, Calif. (AP)

Youngblood said Casarez carjacked a vehicle with a woman and child inside and let them go, telling the woman he was "not a bad guy," before driving off.

He killed himself after he pulled into a business and was confronted by police, who released body-cam footage of the suicide from an officer at the scene.

Youngblood said Casarez told the officer he didn't want to live before shooting himself in the stomach with a Smith & Wesson handgun.

It is as yet unclear how all the victims are connected to Casarez, authorities said.

The mass shooting is the third deadliest in the United States this year after a shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, in February that left 17 people dead and one at a school in Santa Fe, Texas, in May that left 10 people dead, according to data from Gun Violence Archive.

Gunman kills five people in California, then himself

A man went on a shooting rampage in California on Wednesday, killing five people including his wife, before taking his own life, a police spokesman told AFP.

The shooting in Bakersfield in central California was possibly "a domestic violence incident," said Lieutenant Mark King of the Kern County sheriff's office.

Police received their first call at 5:19 pm before responding to the first location, a trucking company, where the rampage began.

Three people were killed there and the shooter, armed with a large caliber hand gun, fled.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood told reporters that the suspect first shot a man at the trucking company and then killed his wife. He chased a person who had witnessed the shooting and killed that person, too.

He reportedly then fled and shot two people at a house.

"This is the new normal," said Youngblood. He said the officer who confronted the suspect wore a body camera, but the footage has not been released.

It was the latest chapter of America's epidemic of gun violence.

Americans make up only four percent of the global population but they own 40 percent of the world's firearms, according to a recent study published by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Of the 857 million guns owned by civilians, 393 million are in the United States - more than all of the firearms held by ordinary citizens in the other top 25 countries combined, according to the Small Arms Survey.

According to Gun Violence Archive, the mass shooting in Bakersfield is the third deadliest in the United States this year after a shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead and one at a school in Santa Fe, Texas, in May that left 10 people dead.