partlycloudy
Saturday September 22nd, 2018 1:29AM

Gunman kills ex-wife, 4 others and himself in California

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

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 killed a father and daughter during a nearly 40-minute rampage, authorities said Thursday.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood identified the gunman as Javier Casarez during a news conference about the shootings that claimed five victims in Bakersfield, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) 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.

The video shows deputies and paramedics working to save Casarez. Deputies look over Casarez's gun and talk about how he would have had to reload it during the rampage.

David Bunting, who said he's a friend of Eliseo Garcia Cazares and lives two doors down from him, said he has no idea why his neighbor would have been targeted.

He said Garcia was a self-employed truck driver who always was with his grandkids when not working, often driving them around on his golf cart.

"He's a really nice guy. I can't say enough good things about him," Bunting said. "It's kind of a shock because of the kind of a person he was."

He said his daughter Laura was a mother of four and that most of the Garcias' large family was home at the time of the shooting. He said they're devastated and in shock.

He said Eliseo Garcia Cazares and his wife had four grown children, including a daughter who was killed in a car accident a few years ago.

T&T Trucking, where the initial shooting happened, said in a statement that the company "is in a state of mourning."

"We are greatly saddened and offer our heartfelt condolence and prayers to those who lost a loved one."

About 30 witnesses were being interviewed by deputies, Youngblood said.

He said Casarez was a legal permanent resident of the U.S. The 50-caliber gun used in the shootings was legally purchased in 2004, Youngblood said. Casarez had been arrested for vehicle theft in the 1980s, but he did not have a history of violent crime, the sheriff said.

Officials say there are indications of a domestic violence motive, but investigators don't know what specifically set Casarez off.

Casarez filed for divorce last year because he believed she had cheated on him, according to court papers. In his petition for divorce filed in December, he accused Petra Maribel Bolanos De Casarez of cheating and asked the judge for his wife's text messages to specific phone numbers. The judge denied the request.

Investigators are looking into whether Casarez's ex-wife may have had a relationship with Contreras or Valadez, the sheriff said.

His ex-wife had recently filed for an unspecified change in orders involving child support and property.

Youngblood called the shootings devastating, especially for Laura Garcia's children, who may have witnessed their mother's death.

"These young children, when they see this, that's something that will stay with them the rest of their lives," he said. "But officers ... they're also not immune to those emotions. Those cases stay with them their entire career, so this has a far-reaching impact on a lot of people in our community and in our department."

___

Associated Press writer Christopher Weber contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: At least 4 injured in fires blamed on gas issue
At least four people are being treated for injuries after a series of fires north of Boston that authorities blame on a natural gas issue
7:03PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Gunman kills ex-wife, 4 others and himself in California
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 in a nearly 40-minute rampage
7:00PM ( 8 minutes ago )
'Threat becomes reality': Florence begins days of rain, wind
The outer bands of Hurricane Florence are lashing the Carolina coast at the start of what forecasters say will be days of potentially disastrous rain and wind
6:58PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Uncle: Man killed by officer aspired to St. Lucia leadership
Friends and family have remembered a 26-year-old gunned down by a Dallas police officer as a deeply religious man who loved to sing and told his uncle that he might one day want to be prime minister of his native Caribbean island country of St. Lucia
6:44PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Arrest warrant for Arizona lawmaker who bragged of speeding
An arrest warrant has been issued for an Arizona state lawmaker who was seen on video bragging about driving more than 120 mph (193 kph) earlier this year
6:32PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Explosions damage so many homes 'you can't even see the sky'
A series of gas explosions has caused fires in more than 20 homes across three communities north of Boston
6:30PM ( 38 minutes ago )
AP National News
Honolulu may evacuate 10,000 as water levels rise in dam
Honolulu officials on Thursday prepared for the possible evacuation of 10,000 people from a residential neighborhood after rains from a tropical storm dangerously elevated water levels in a reservoir
6:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pope OKs probe into US bishop as he meets with US delegation
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a U.S. bishop and authorized an investigation into allegations he sexually harassed adults
6:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
Smart urges authorities to reconsider kidnapper's release
Elizabeth Smart appealed to authorities on Thursday to reconsider the planned release next week of one of her kidnappers, saying Wanda Barzee remains a danger to her, and the community
5:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
Top General short headlines
Humbled Illinois governor admits errors, pleads for 2nd term
A humbled Gov. Bruce Rauner is promising a different kind of governor in a second term
6:21PM ( 48 minutes ago )
VW to stop making iconic Beetle next summer
Volkswagen says it will stop making its iconic Beetle in July of next year
5:36PM ( 1 hour ago )
Congress passes spending deal, bids to avert gov't shutdown
The House has approved a $147 billion package to fund the Energy Department, veterans' programs and the legislative branch, a day after the Senate passed the measure. It now goes to President Trump for his signature.
5:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
'Threat becomes reality': Florence begins days of rain, wind
The outer bands of Hurricane Florence are lashing the Carolina coast at the start of what forecasters say will be days of potentially disastrous rain and wind
6:58PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Mets hit back-to-back homers in 9th, stun Marlins 4-3
Michael Conforto and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back homers with two outs in the ninth inning, and the New York Mets stunned the Miami Marlins 4-3 in the first game of a doubleheader
6:50PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Trump tweets roil Florida GOP's play for Puerto Rican voters
Top Florida Republicans have been quick to say President Donald Trump is wrong about the death toll in Puerto Rico
6:49PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Panicked neighborhoods evacuate as gas blasts destroy homes
A series of gas explosions has caused fires in more than 20 homes across three communities north of Boston
6:49PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Smart outraged by planned release of 1 of her kidnappers
Elizabeth Smart said Thursday the news that one of her kidnappers will be released next week was "a big shock," but while she urged authorities to reconsider the decision she also conceded there is no viable, legal recourse for her to pursue
6:44PM ( 25 minutes ago )