BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (CN) – Calling such events “the new normal,” the Kern County, California, sheriff said a man shot and killed five people including his ex-wife on Wednesday before turning the gun on himself when confronted by police.
Javier Casarez, 54, appeared to have planned out the shooting, according to Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood. Casarez entered a Bakersfield trucking company with his ex-wife at around 5 p.m. Wednesday, where confronted a man whom he then shot and killed before also shooting and killing his ex-wife, authorities said.
Youngblood identified the ex-wife as 45-year-old Petra Maribel Bolanos de Cazarez, and the two were recently divorced.
After killing Bolanos, Casarez chased down a third person at the business and shot and killed him in front of a sporting goods store. Casarez then went to a nearby home and killed two others.
Youngblood said Casarez appears to have intentionally targeted the victims and the rampage likely began with implications of domestic violence.
“He may have had a plan when he took his wife there,” said Youngblood. “This appeared well planned. Obviously, there is some type of situation that caused the husband to be extremely upset.”
Casarez then carjacked a vehicle from a woman and child, who were able to escape. A police officer spotted Casarez driving the vehicle east of Bakersfield, and managed to pull Casarez over.
He shot himself in the chest when the officer confronted him, Youngblood said.
“Six people lost their lives in a very short period of time,” Youngblood said. “This is the new normal if you look if you look across the country, these types of shootings.”
The suspect used a S&W Model 500 .50 caliber handgun, Youngblood said.
Sheriff’s officials are still investigating the incident and any connections between the victims. About 30 people witnessed the shooting, the sheriff’s office said.
Kern County sheriff’s Lt. Mark King told the Associated Press on Thursday there were “strong indications” of domestic violence as a motive in the shooting rampage.
Area TV station KERO-23 reported two of the victims were a 32-year-old daughter and her father.
Bakersfield is located at the southern tip of the Central Valley, about 110 miles north of Los Angeles.