Two men charged with murder in a shooting outside a Bakersfield Internet casino last month are documented Lamont gang members who were involved in an altercation with the victim, sheriff's investigators say in court documents.
Fernando Rojas, 34, and Victor Nunez, 21, were spotted on surveillance video inside the casino together at 5610 South Union Ave. drinking, talking and playing the same game the night of Feb. 2. They left together, along with some other men, at about 2:06 a.m. the following morning.
The shooting occurred outside shortly afterward.
According to the documents, Rojas told investigators that Brandon Ellington, 26, had entered the casino and was "acting weird," as if he were on drugs. He said at one point Ellington threatened to "kill everybody."
Rojas denied involvement in Ellington's death, the documents said, even when investigators told him they have surveillance footage linking him and Nunez to the crime.
Investigators said the surveillance footage showed Rojas throw a beer bottle in the casino parking lot at Ellington, who had taken off his shirt as if preparing to fight Rojas. Ellington then ran off the property, headed north on South Union Avenue.
Other surveillance video from businesses along the roadway captured what happened next.
Rojas and Nunez got into Rojas' silver BMW and drove to the shoulder on South Union Avenue near Ellington. Nunez got out of the car, approached Ellington and shot him, according to the documents.
Ellington ran northeast and collapsed in front of a convenience store. He died at the scene from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Nunez and Rojas were arrested Feb. 9, Nunez in Lamont and Rojas at an Internet casino in Bakersfield. Investigators recognized both men on surveillance images due to their previous run-ins with law enforcement.
During his interview with detectives, Rojas at first claimed to be at another casino when the shooting occurred. When confronted with the surveillance video, he admitted being at the South Union Avenue casino with Nunez.
He said he heard some "black guys" shot Ellington, the documents said, and he wasn't involved.
"I was drunk that night," Rojas told investigators. "I was hanging out with a bunch of guys."
Nunez also denied involvement in the killing.
The two are next due in court March 23.