Javier Cazarez, Bakersfield Gunman, Kills Ex-Wife & Four Others, Takes Own Life

A gun at a crime scene
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Javier Cazarez killed his ex-wife, Petra, and four others in three separate shootings across Bakersfield, California on Wednesday night.

He then took his own life when confronted by authorities, CNN reports.

The Kern County Sheriff’s office said that the shootings took place over the course of thirty minutes in an area measuring half of a square mile. According to officials, the shootings began at 5:15 p.m. when Cazarez fatally shot 50-year-old Emanuel Contreras with his handgun at T&T Trucking before turning the gun on his ex-wife, killing her.

Following the two initial shootings, Antonio Valdez left the building to investigate the noise of the gunshots, leading to the gunman to chase him in his car, killing that witness outside of a hunting equipment store. The final two victims were a man and woman whose home Cazarez drove directly to, seemingly with the express purpose of murdering them.

Authorities have since identified the woman that was shot in her home as 32-year-old Laura Garcia, reports ABC 30. While law enforcement has not, as yet, released the name of the man shot at the home in question, Garcia’s family has said that the other victim present was her father — Eliseo Garcia.

After this spate of murders, Cazarez carjacked a woman — with her child inside the vehicle. They were later released unharmed by the shooter. He then drove the car to a nearby highway where he was pulled over by a deputy. The police officer drew his gun on the shooter, who then proceeded to shoot himself in the stomach, a wound which would prove fatal.

The authorities have not determined a motive for the shooting, with Sheriff Donny Youngbood saying that’s what they’re currently working on.

“It appears to be there’s more than just a [former] husband and wife having a fight because other people were targeted. There’s a reason for that, and we need to find that reason.”

The divorce between the apparent gunman and his second victim was recent, being finalized just four months ago. Youngblood confirmed that the woman had filed for a new hearing concerning child support and property values, which may reveal something of the potential motive.

The Sheriff agreed with journalists that the shootings seemed to be premeditated by the gunman, given that the two shot in their home far from the scene of the initial shootings clearly indicated as much. Investigators for the Sheriff’s Office have said that they have 30 witnesses to the shootings that they plan to question.

Body-worn camera footage of the final scene between the deputy and Cazarez was released at a press conference on Thursday, as part of an effort to show greater transparency as it concerns the current investigation. The first step of the investigation has been trying to find a connection between all of the victims, which investigators have not yet come forward with.