A man killed his ex-wife and four others across three locations on Wednesday near Bakersfield, California, before killing himself as a sheriff’s deputy confronted him, authorities said.
The shootings, which spanned 30-35 minutes over roughly half a square mile, appeared to be targeted attacks stemming from a possible domestic violence case, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said Thursday.
Along the way, the suspect stole a vehicle from a woman and her child but let them live, Youngblood said. He told the woman something to the effect of “he wasn’t a bad person,” Youngblood said.
“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 sheriff said.
The shootings started around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday at T&T Trucking, where the gunman — after arriving there with his ex-wife — used a .50-caliber handgun to fatally shoot a man, Youngblood said.
He then shot his ex-wife, killing her, according to the sheriff.
Another male then fled from the building, and the gunman gave chase, getting into his vehicle and driving to the front of a nearby hunting equipment shop. The gunman found that person outside the shop and shot and killed him, Youngblood said.
The gunman then drove to a nearby home, where he shot and killed a male and a female, the sheriff said.
He then hijacked a vehicle with a woman and child inside, but the gunman let them go, Youngblood said. He headed to a nearby highway, where he saw a deputy and pulled over into a lot.
As the deputy drew a weapon and confronted him, the gunman shot himself fatally in the stomach, Youngblood said.
The names of the gunman and the five people he’s said to have killed weren’t immediately available.
The gunman and his ex-wife had been divorced four months, and she had just filed for a new hearing regarding child support and property values, Youngblood said Thursday.
Investigators aren’t sure about a motive, but it appears the former couple had some type of connection to the trucking company, and the shootings appeared well-planned, Youngblood said.
Investigators intend to question about 30 witnesses in the case, Youngblood said.