Just as dawn broke, California Highway Patrol officials were rolling up to the nondescript Beverly Drive home in east Bakersfield.
Their orders were not unlike the ones given to hundreds of other law enforcement officials scattered across Kern County Tuesday morning: serve a high-risk warrant on a member or affiliate of the West Side Crips, a dangerous, notorious criminal street gang.
But at 6:04 a.m., just as officers were about to breach the door, shots rang out.
They began taking gunfire from inside the house.
Officers shot back, then retreated to safety, CHP Sgt. Roberto Rodriguez said. It’s unclear how many officers were serving the warrant and opened fire.
No one was injured, but the suspects barricaded themselves inside the home.
Two separate SWAT teams were called — one from Kings County and the other from Bakersfield Police Department. They began negotiating.
They later learned there were four suspects inside the home, but only one doing the shooting. Three surrendered, Rodriguez said, and were never arrested.
It wasn’t until about 9 a.m. that the final suspect — whose identity has not yet been released by law enforcement — surrendered. He was arrested.
“When dealing with somebody who’s armed and already has fired multiple rounds at our officers … this is one of those things where it could have gone downhill really quickly,” Rodriguez said.
Although officers wouldn’t reveal the identity of the suspect whose warrant was being served, public records show that the home belonged to Douglas Cartwright — who could be related to two suspects taken into custody Tuesday: Breyonna and Lakeijuh Cartwright.
Breyonna is dating Daniel Willis, a West Side Crips gangster who police believe took part in the Sept. 23 killing of Edwin Smith. On her Facebook page, Breyonna has photos of herself with a tattoo reading “Mrs. Willis” across her upper chest.
Lakeijuh’s relation is unclear, but her Facebook page has tributes to Augustus “AJ” Crawford, a documented West Side Crips gangster who was shot and killed after fleeing from a Bakersfield Police Department officer in November.
“LongLiveAj” she wrote on her bio box below a cover photo of Crawford flashing a gold grill in his mouth.
Tuesday’s early morning shootout was one of the most dramatic moments in the multiagency gang takedown, the culmination of a 10-month-long federal investigation that resulted in more than 40 arrests.