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“Very Calculated” – Bakersfield Shooting Likely Premeditated, Says Sheriff

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Kern County Sheriff's Office
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Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood speaks about the shooting at a press conference on Thursday, September 13.

More details have emerged in a Bakersfield shooting spree on Wednesday that left six people dead, including the alleged killer. 

The Kern County Sheriff’s office has released the names of the suspect and victims in Wednesday’s shooting. Sheriff Donny Youngblood says there’s reason to believe the suspect, 54-year-old Javier Casarez, had a connection to many, if not all of the victims.

First, there’s his ex-wife, 45-year-old Petra Maribel Bolanos De Casarez, who was one of his first victims and was earlier reported to be his wife. Casarez allegedly killed her and 50 year-old Manuel Contreras outside the offices of T & T Trucking in East Bakersfield. Casarez allegedly continued his shooting spree outside Bear Mountain Sports, killing 50-year-old Antonio Valdez.

Authorities then say he went to a home on Breckenridge Road, and killed 30-year-old Laura Garcia and her father, 57-year-old Eliseo Cazares, before taking his own life.

In a press conference on Thursday, Sheriff Youngblood reported that Casarez and his ex-wife had three children. They had been divorced only a few months earlier.

Youngblood said a domestic dispute was likely a factor in the killings. “We don’t know that that is the catalyst, but it certainly has the implications of domestic violence,” he said.

Youngblood said detectives were investigating rumors that the suspect knew at least two of the other victims. Based on the compact timing and precise locations of the shootings, Youngblood says it’s likely the suspect had pre-planned his attacks. “It appears to me to be very calculated,” he said.

The suspect allegedly carried out these killings using a .50-caliber handgun.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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