Bakersfield, CA – A gunman’s rampage that started at a trucking company office ultimately left six people dead in East Bakersfield on Wednesday night.
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood called the incident a “mass shooting” during a press conference, and said “this is the new normal, if you look across the country, these types of shootings.”
Sheriff Youngblood said authorities received a call about a shooting at a trucking business on Manwell Boulevard, near Highway 58 and Weedpatch Highway, at about 5:20 p.m. on Sept. 12, and deputies responded.
Witnesses told police that a man and his wife had entered the trucking company offices, and then the man confronted another man.
Sheriff Youngblood said the first man shot the second man, and then turned the gun on his own wife and fatally shot her.
The man ran from the shooter, who chased him out of the office and around the building to the front of Bear Mountain Sports, where the gunman caught up with him and fatally shot him, WLOS reported.
Then the suspect jumped in the car and drove over to a residence on Breckenridge Road where he confronted a man and a woman before he fatally shot them both.
The gunman abandoned his vehicle at that location and went to Fillmore Avenue, where he carjacked a woman with a child, WLOS reported.
The woman and child escaped safely, and the gunman fled for Edison Highway. That’s where he was when he was spotted and stopped by a deputy. He pulled over into a parking lot, the Bakersfield Californian reported.
When the deputy “confronted him with a firearm,” the shooter turned his gun around and shot himself in the chest, Sheriff Youngblood said.
The sheriff said that only 10 to 15 minutes had elapsed between the first shooting at the trucking company and the time when the gunman shot himself.
“Obviously, these are not random shootings," Sheriff Youngblood said.
Investigators were working to piece together the details and find a motive for the gunman’s rampage.
“Where we go from here is trying to find out why this started,” the sheriff told reporters.
By the time of the press conference at 8 p.m., authorities had already talked to 30 witnesses, and had more people yet to interview. Five search warrants had already been served, WLOS reported.
The deputy who confronted the shooter was wearing a bodycam, but Sheriff Youngblood said he hadn’t watched the video yet.
He said that deputies had recovered one firearm thus far in their investigation.
When asked if he could recall any other case like this, Sheriff Youngblood referred to Robert Courtney, but said fewer people had died during that shooting spree.
Courtney, 48, assassinated a 38-year-old Kern County health inspector who had cited a property he owned, and then fatally shot her 39-year-old husband and 64-year-old mother, who was in town visiting, the Bakersfield Californian reported.
Police have not yet released the name of the shooter or of any of the five victims.