Kern County and Bakersfield bled with Las Vegas this week.

Three county residents died and Shafter lost a man who grew up there.

At least eight people are struggling to recover from wounds they suffered as they fled the Route 91 Harvest Festival one week ago.

A host of other Kern County people, still untallied, are fighting to deal with sights and sounds of the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Country music is woven into the fabric of Kern County’s past and present and the massive festival drew droves of our neighbors, friends, family and co-workers to Las Vegas for a weekend of celebration, fun and melody.

It ended in tragedy.

Here is what we know about the impact Kern County felt from Oct 1.



Bakersfield’s Bailey Schweitzer, 20, was the youngest person to die in Sunday’s shooting in Las Vegas, according to the Clark County coroner's office.

Last weekend’s trip to the Route 91 country music festival was supposed to be a special escape for Crissy Schweitzer and her daughter Bailey.

It ended in tragedy when a bullet took Bailey’s life.

Crissy and Bailey got separated in the chaos and, for a time, the family believed Bailey had survived, said family spokesman Matt Woessner.

The close-knit Schweitzer family, which runs Bakersfield Speedway, is still grieving. And the racing world has rallied around them.

So has the larger Bakersfield community.

Bailey’s co-workers at Infinity Communications held a vigil for her and GoFundMe accounts have been created to aid the family financially.

But friends of the family said the world is worse for the loss of the funny woman who could befriend anyone and brighten anyone’s day.


When a bullet ripped past Laurie Benton’s left arm, she felt it.

She was celebrating her 23rd wedding anniversary with husband Jack Beaton, 54, and four close family friends at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

Jack pulled his wife to the ground and wrapped her in a bear hug as bullets rained around them.

He told her he loved her.

When the shooting stopped for a moment, Laurie Beaton could feel him slumped over her.

He’d been shot in the chest.

Friends eased him to the ground and fought to help him breathe with aid from a pair of other concertgoers.

He was still breathing when, urged by one of the good Samaritans, the five friends fled to safety.

Jack Beaton, who showed his unconditional love for his wife that day, died from his wound.


Taft Union High School lost one of its most prominent substitute teachers in the shooting. Kelsey Meadows, a 28-year-old Taft native, was a Fresno State graduate who had returned to her hometown in 2012 to work as a sub for the Taft Union High School District.

A candlelight vigil was held in Meadows’ honor on Oct. 4 at the school. Around 500 people from the community turned out for the event, which included words from school officials as well as students, friends and even a few people that didn’t know her well.


Victor Link, a former resident of Shafter, was also killed in Las Vegas.

Link, 55, was a loan processor who lived in Aliso Viejo, according to a statement from Link’s family.

“We are heartbroken to share that Victor Link was one of the many lives lost at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. He was in attendance with his fiancee, Lynne Gonzales, and longtime friends Rob and Lesley Wedlock when he was shot and killed during the Jason Aldean concert on Sunday,” the statement read.

“He’s such a welcoming person. The kind of guy who’s going to give a shirt off his back who I could always go to for guidance. I’m going to miss him more than I could imagine in this moment,” said nephew Vincent Link.


The carnage of the Route 91 festival dealt several Kern County residents devastating injuries. But they survived.

For some the road to recovery looks relatively easy.

Others face long-term recovery from severe wounds.

Here are their stories.


A bullet struck off-duty Bakersfield police Officer Aaron Mundhenke in the hip. He was among a large group of BPD officers, and their spouses, attending the festival.

According to BPD spokesman Sgt. Ryan Kroeker, Mundhenke had surgery Monday morning in Las Vegas.


Rachel Sheppard, of Tehachapi, a wedding coordinator and restaurant employee, was shot three times, according to friends. She faced surgery earlier in the week.


Close friends Carmen Alegria, of Shafter, and Angelica Soto, of Lost Hills, were at the festival Sunday night when the gunfire started.

They thought it was fireworks, Alegria told the Los Angeles Times in a video interview. Then Soto got hit in the shoulder by a bullet and Alegria bent over to help her and shield her.

Another round struck Alegria in the knee, she said.

They ran from the venue, eventually piled into a pickup truck and were evacuated.


A financial officer for the Rodriquez and Associates law firm, Jordanne Barr had a bullet enter her right arm and then hit her back according to a Facebook post by her fiance, Jordan Adamczyk, who was with her at the festival.

Barr is a former golfer for Cal State Bakersfield.


A bullet hit Jessica Carey, a sales coordinator for a heavy equipment company, in the leg.


Chelsea Laurent, of Bakersfield, like thousands of the other country music fans, ran when she realized a shooter was spraying the crowd.

Friends who were sharing the weekend with Laurent and her boyfriend, Jason Scott, scattered in chaotic flight.

When she, Scott, her brother Jimmy Laurent and best friend Crystal Cravins came up against a closed wrought-iron gate, they climbed.

Chelsea Laurent was pushed at the top of the gate and fell; she found herself hanging upside down from the gate with her upper leg impaled on one of the spikes.

Scott pulled her off the fence and they fled. Laurent got medical help and survived.

But, she told The Californian, it will take a long time to deal with everything she heard and saw that night.


Billy Bob Mason and fiancee Regina Harris ran from the Route 91 main stage when the bullets started to fly.

But the certified nurse assistant from Bodfish couldn’t run past a boy who was on the ground with blood covering his head and neck.

Mason stopped to help and, when the spray of bullets came his way again, he watched as the boy was hit in the abdomen.

A bullet hit Mason in the foot.

That didn’t stop the self-described good ol’ country boy.

He helped others get the boy to safety, wrapped up his own foot with a sock and used his Ford F-150 to shuttle injured people to ambulances outside the venue.

Then, so he wouldn’t take up precious emergency room space, he and Harris drove back to Bodfish.

He went to the Kern Valley Healthcare District hospital where he worked and got himself patched up.


A host of other Kern County residents escaped the Route 91 Harvest Festival without serious physical injury.

But they recount tales of horror, friends and family who were wounded and killed, and a wild flight toward safety as bullets pounded into the ground around them.

Among those who are struggling to recover from the experience are:

Melanie Wright, Crystal Cravins, Jason Scott, Regina Harris, Laurie Beaton, Dario Catallo, Kim Catallo, Scot Watkins, Michelle Watkins, Crissy Schweitzer, Karla Gomez, Lauren Naworski, Alisha Pitkanen, Michalynn Brown, Jordan Adamczyk, Ashley Herring-Schmidt, Jeff Schmidt, Brittany Cox and John Alden.

But 22,000 people attended the concert, so the list, were it available and comprehensive, would be much, much longer.

James Burger can be reached at 661‑395-7415. Follow him on Twitter: @KernQuirks.


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