Javier Cazarez has been named as the gunman who shot five people, including his estranged wife, in a mass shooting spread out over multiple locations in Bakersfield, California.
The Sheriff’s Department identified the victims as Manuel Contreras, 50, the first victim; Petra Maribel Bolanos De Casarez, 45, the second victim; Antonio Valadez, 50, the third victim; Laura Garcia, 31, the fourth victim; and Eliseo Garcia, 56, the fifth victim. The Los Angeles Times reported that the motive might involve a “love triangle” between Javier Cazarez, his wife and a co-worker.
Petra was the estranged wife of Cazarez, according to the sheriff, who said they were in the middle of divorce proceedings.
The mass shooting erupted at a trucking business and five other locations in Bakersfield, California. A few sites gave the gunman’s name as Javier Cazares, but it’s Cazarez. Below you can see the body cam video of sheriff’s deputies confronting the gunman.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Ex-Wife of Javier Cazarez Was Among the Victims
In a press conference, the Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said that, at about 5:20 p.m. on September 12, 2018, deputies responded to the trucking business near Bear Mountain Sports to reports of shots fired. They learned that a husband and hi estranged wife showed up at the trucking business to confront a man at the business. The husband shot and killed the victim at the trucking business. He then killed his ex-wife, authorities say. Thirty witnesses need to be interviewed, the sheriff said. “This is the new normal,” the sheriff said of the mass shooting.
“It’s highly unusual to have six people killed in one incident,” the sheriff said. “It was a very short period of time, maybe 10-15 minutes.” Minimally, a handgun was involved, he said.
On September 13, 2018, the sheriff held another press conference in which he revealed Cazarez’s identity. He said Cazarez and his estranged wife Petra went to TNT trucking to confront Valdez, an employee there. “The husband pulled a large 50-caliber handgun… and shot him to death. He then turned the gun on his wife and shot her. A third gentleman was there and he fled… the suspect drove around and found the third victim in front of Bear Mountain Sports, where he shot and killed him. The suspect then drove his vehicle to Breckenridge Road.” He said it’s believed the female may have tried to intervene to keep the suspect from approaching her father, at which point she was shot. He made reference to the fact he was “not a bad guy” when he hijacked a vehicle, and allowed the woman and child to get out of it.
All of the shootings happened in about a half mile and took about 30 minutes. The suspect had reload the handgun at some point, the sheriff said. “It appears the suspect targeted each of his victims. We know the suspect and his estranged wife were in divorce proceedings” and she had filed a change order relating to support and property recently. The chief said the shootings have the implication of “domestic violence.”
According to the sheriff, the suspect and his estranged wife were divorced for four months and authorities are trying to figure out their link to the trucking business because they consider the shootings to be planned out.
The Suspect Showed Up at the Trucking Business to Confront Another Man, Authorities Say
Another person showed up at the scene after the suspect killed his ex-wife, but the suspect killed that person outside the trucking business, the sheriff said of the chaotic and deadly sequence of events. Youngblood presented this account of what allegedly happened. According to the sheriff: The suspect left the area and went to a residence and confronted two more people, the Garcias (who are father and daughter) where he shot both of them. He then hijacked a vehicle with a woman and child in it. He took that vehicle and drove to Edison Highway, where a deputy saw him and confronted him. The suspect put the gun to his chest and killed himself. The child and woman were not killed.
“We have six people dead, five victims and one suspect,” Youngblood said. “Obviously there’s some type of situation that caused the husband to be extremely upset.” However, authorities said they are still investigating the specific motive for the mass shooting. You can watch Youngblood’s press conference here:
There were firearms recovered. “It happened rather quickly of course,” Youngblood said. The suspect went with his wife together to the business to confront the man, he added.
“The wife’s dead,” Youngblood said. “We need to find out where this started…obviously these are not random shootings.”