Kern County has definitely bucked the big-city trend on homicides for 2009.
While Los Angeles and San Francisco had major drops in homicides year over year, Kern County tied its record high of 98 set in 1994.
Kern shot up 55.6 percent from 63 homicides in 2008, while San Francisco had more than a 50 percent drop and homicides in the Los Angeles area fell by about 20 percent. Los Angeles County had 735 homicides as of Dec. 28, which was less than half of its 1,500-plus record in 1992 during the Rodney King riots.
So what happened in Kern County?
In Bakersfield, gangs dominated the killings in the first half of the year, accounting for 14 of the city's 16 homicides by mid-August. In the last five months, however, there were only two gang homicides in the city while the rest of the spectrum -- domestic violence, robberies, fights, drug disputes, child deaths and officer-involved shootings -- picked up the pace, homicide Sgt. Joe Aldana said.
The non-city areas covered by the Kern County Sheriff's Department acted in reverse of the city of Bakersfield. Eight of the last 11 homicides were gang-related, homicide Sgt. Craig Rennie said. Before then, 11 of the first 29 homicides were gang-related.
Law enforcement can have some impact on gang killings, the sergeants said. The other types are harder to control, they said.
Aldana said that in light of the gang pace in the first half of the year, patrol and gang officers stepped up probation, parole and other searches of gang members to keep the heat on them and take as many as possible off the streets. He said that proactive approach helped stem the tide for the remainder of the year.
Rennie said he's not sure why there was a spike in gang homicides in the last five months, but the Sheriff's Department is also trying to make its presence felt in the gang communities.
Neither sergeant had any reason why the family-related or officer-involved homicides increased this year. A bad economy could explain some increase in tensions, but otherwise such homicides are as individual as the people involved, the officers said.
When it was all said and done, the city had 28 homicides with 16 being gang-related, and the sheriff's jurisdiction had 40 homicides; 17 of those were gang-related. A year ago the city had 25 homicides, and the sheriff's area had 23 homicides.
Based on known circumstances, Kern had 11 family-related homicides, eight child deaths, 10 officer-involved homicides, 18 fight-related killings and three drug-related deaths.
A homicide is the killing of a person by another. It could be murder, which is premeditated; manslaughter, which is in the heat of passion or the result of negligence; or justifiable, such as self-defense or the protection of others.
Here are the homicides in 2009. All information is from law enforcement agencies investigating the deaths, coroner's reports and the Kern County Superior Court website, unless otherwise noted.
Jose Payan-Leal, 22
By gunshot Jan. 4. Three Bakersfield police officers -- T.J. Martinez, Christopher Yslas and Allen Ronk -- shot at Leal, who was armed and suspected of stealing a car. He was running away near the Bakersfield Municipal Airport. Leal shot one man earlier in the day and was wanted for murder in Mexico. The shooting was ruled justifiable.
Javier Lopez, 20
By gunshot Jan. 6 at the Community Market in McFarland. Two 17-year-old boys arrested on murder charges.
Curtis and Tina West, both 44
Gunned down Jan. 8 near the Day and Night Market at 355 Chester Ave. Police don't know why they were targeted. No arrests.
Rudolfo Lepe, 31
Died in a struggle with six Bakersfield police officers Jan. 11 in the 4000 block of Maize Court near Pacheco and Akers roads. Lepe stopped breathing during the struggle. The coroner ruled Lepe's death was a homicide; police ruled officers used justifiable force under the circumstances.
Carlos Alexander Serrano, 21
Stabbed to death Jan. 11 at the Valero gas station in Lost Hills. As he was dying, he told an officer "Ulyses" stabbed him. That led to the arrest of 20-year-old Ulyses Aviles in what sheriff's deputies said was a gang-related killing. Aviles faces court hearings in February.
Victor Aubre Sterling, 17
Shot to death Jan. 15 in the 1200 block of Eighth Street. Police said the killing may be gang-related.
Terrance Edward Haney Jr., 19
Shot to death Jan. 15 in the 1800 block of Lacey Street. No further information has been released.
Michael Paul Mesa, 36
A drug suspect from Wasco, tried to run away from officers at Sixth and D streets Jan. 20. He lost consciousness in a struggle with deputies and later died. A review found the officers used appropriate force.
Karlyn Uribe, 1 month old
Died Jan. 26 at Tehachapi Hospital. She had four broken ribs and bleeding on her brain as a result of injuries inflicted within hours of her death. Sheriff's deputies have said there is not enough evidence to charge a specific person.
Joshua Turner, 20
Shot in the head Feb. 22 in the 1200 block of 38th Street. Three men were arrested on murder charges, but charges against all were dismissed because of insufficient evidence.
Onelimo Castillo, 27
Matched the description of a man who had a gun and went into the 11-One Market at 311 E. 11th St. on March 1. Police Sgt. Scott Thatcher saw Castillo with a gun tucked into his waistband and ordered him to stop. Castillo reached for the gun and Thatcher fired five shots, killing Castillo. Castillo's gun, which fired BBs, looked like a semiautomatic handgun. The shooting was ruled justifiable.
Virginia Suorez, 24; Jose Flores, 25
Found shot to death and burned inside a home in the 2300 block of K Street on March 4. Bodies were discovered after firefighters were called. No arrests have been made.
Kevin King, 5
Suffered a beating that ruptured his heart and liver on March 8. Police arrested 58-year-old Gloria Grayson, who adopted the boy, on second-degree murder charges. A trial is pending in March. Grayson has admitted losing her temper while the boy was eating, grabbing him by the throat and shoving him down the hallway to the bathroom, police reported.
Jerrell Brooks, 18
Shot to death March 10 in the 1500 block of Reese Avenue. No arrests have been made.
Jose Castro Rodriguez, 20
Shot to death March 12 in the 3000 block of Niles Street. No arrests have been made.
Jessie Hill, 21
Gunned down March 13 in the 400 block of Powell Street after being released from jail seven hours earlier. No arrests have been made.
Spencer Mason Birchfield, 21
Shot and killed by Bakersfield Police Officer Brandon Doyle March 14 after the domestic abuse suspect drew a gun on the officer. Shooting ruled justifiable.
Norberto Gutierrez Jr., 33
Found dead in a bathroom, the victim of blunt force trauma to his head, on March 14 in the 3500 block of Palm Street. No arrests have been made.
Peter Andrew Towse, 26
Beaten to death March 15 at Vinny's Tavern, 2700 S. Union Ave. in Bakersfield. Joey Dean Barnes, 31, has pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.
Oscar Cruz, 23
Stabbed to death March 18 during a riot at Kern Valley State Prison near Delano. Sixteen other inmates were injured. No arrests have been made. Cruz was serving a 37-year term for armed robbery and gang enhancements in Los Angeles County.
Clarence Bagsby, 19
Shot to death March 22 in a gunfight with 28-year-old Joshua Deonte Profit near Eighth and L streets, police said. The two had been in a fight about two hours before the shooting. Profit is scheduled for a murder trial in March.
Juan Moreno, 52
Shot to death and his body was found March 23 in an orchard near McFarland. A fieldworker found the body off Elmo Highway, one mile east of Wallace Road. No arrests have been made.
Humberto Torres, 41
A suspect in a March 20 stabbing in Delano, he was taken to Delano Regional Medical Center because he was acting bizarre and officers thought he might be under the influence. The next morning struggled with a Delano police officer and stopped breathing. He died March 26 in a Fresno hospital.
Died March 27 at birth at San Joaquin Hospital due to methamphetamine abuse by the mother, Danielle Mailloux, the coroner said. No charges filed.
Aldo Jose Perez, 19
Found March 28 shot to death in his home in the 7900 block of Alden Street in Lamont. No arrests.
Gilbert Allan Sanchez, 20
Beaten to death during a robbery April 6 in the 1300 block of Flower Street. Suspected gang members Angel Eddy Cruz, 20, and Jerry Phillip Mendoza, 18, await a trial scheduled for May on murder and robbery charges.
Silberio Rodriguez, 17
Shot April 9 in the 300 block of Isla Del Sol after two people attempted to crash a party. He died a day later. Patrick Darnell Harris, 26, and Jonathan Alray Lee, 20, are scheduled for a trial in January on murder, robbery, burglary and gang charges.
Crystal Nadine Bird, 37
Shot to death April 25 as she was riding in a car on San Dimas Street. The driver survived his wounds. No suspects have been arrested, but the shots were fired by occupants of a silver or white, four-door Nissan Altima sedan, police said.
Iva Craig, 62
Shot in a drive-by April 27 as she was closing the front gate to her home in the 3500 block of Horne Street. Shots fired from a small, gray car also injured two others walking on the street. Friends were perplexed that anyone would shoot a woman who liked to cook for people in the neighborhood. No arrests have been made.
Evan Broderick, 20
Stabbed to death May 11 at California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi. Prison investigators arrested Kenneth Nowlin, 30, and Travis Frazier, 27, on murder charges. A trial is scheduled in February.
Thomas Padilla, 54
Shot in the head in the 1200 block of Reed Avenue in Mojave on May 11. No arrests.
Ramon Perez, 23
Was in a car with others May 11 at a store in Delano. He was shot in the head by another in the car. The group then drove to Victorville. No arrests.
Unborn child killed May 14 in the 1400 block of Antonia Way when mother Marisha Walker, 40, was shot four times along with three other family members. In the barrage of bullets, Anthony Walker, 49, was hit eight times, Anton Walker, 6, two times and Heavenly Walker, 6, once. The other family members survived. No arrests.
Dora Luis, 52
Shot to death by two Shafter police officers May 17 after she lunged at them with a knife. Luis had suffered from manic depression and schizophrenia for years, her family said. The shooting was ruled justifiable.
Augustin Villagomez Jr., 23
Shot to death May 17 in the 500 block of D Street in Wasco. About a month later, sheriff's deputies arrested Ramone Lupe Torres, 44, in Lemoore on suspicion of murder, but no charges have been filed in Kern County Superior Court.
Juan Lopez, 22
Shot to death May 24 in the 7800 block of Harold Street in Lamont during an argument. Ricardo Jiminez Salazar, 38, awaits trial in January on murder charges.
Sandra Aparicio, 39
Died after being stabbed May 24 in Graddy's Lounge, 355 State Ave. in Shafter. Jose Rosario Aguilar Lopez, 54, of Bakersfield awaits trial on murder charges.
Larry Allen, 26
Shot in the chest May 24 in the 4300 block of Wible Road outside the Iron Hoggs Motor Cycle Club. Two others were also wounded after a fight among about 200 people in the parking lot. No arrests have been made.
Manuel Joe Montijo, 29; Juan Carlos Martinez, 27
Shot to death in an apartment in the 1700 block of Brundage Lane. No arrests have been made.
Brian Scott Sarver, 32
Stabbed to death as he sat in a vehicle May 25 at 272 Bodfish Canyon Road in Bodfish. Crystal Lee Parker, 29, is awaiting a preliminary hearing on murder charges.
Ruben Soto III, 2
Accidentally shot in in the chest by his 3-year-old sister, Ariana, who found a gun under a bed in their Parkwood Court apartment. No charges were filed in the May 27 incident.
Bruce Lee Namauleg, 29
Threw a knife at his wife and missed, then stood in the driveway of his home in the 1400 block of Jefferson Street and threatened deputies. Deputy Jason Colbert fired twice, killing Namauleg. The shooting on June 13 was ruled justifiable.
Hemeshia Porter, 35
Fatally injured after assaulting his wife, 40-year-old Patricia Porter, on June 18 in the 3600 block of Anderson Street, police said. Her two stepsons, ages 14 and 19, tried to break things up but injured Hemeshia Porter in the process. He later died in the hospital from a neck compression injury. No arrests.
Gregory Anthony Winston Jr., 26
Stabbed to death by 25-year-old Tonisha Colter at the Western Night Motel, 505 Union Ave, police said. The two had been arguing. Colter was not charged with any crime.
Guillermo Alvarez, 2
Died from blunt force trauma on June 22. Joshuae Preston, 28, the boyfriend of the mother, 27-year-old Gina Serna, had been alone with the child at the time the injuries were detected. Preston was charged with murder, but the charges were later dropped because of insufficient evidence, his defense lawyer said. No one is currently charged in the case.
Jose Luis Ramirez Jr., 24
Shot to death June 27 in the 1300 block of Staples Street in Arvin. No arrests have been made.
Anthony Daniels, 20
Shot multiple times June 30 in the 1300 block of Reese Avenue. No arrests have been made.
Rory Romal McKenzie, 25
Arrested July 2 after his wife flagged down deputies and said she had been assaulted in the 900 block of Feliz Drive. McKenzie resisted arrest and deputies used a Taser and a dog. McKenzie then had difficulty breathing and despite life-saving efforts, he died. A review found the deputies acted properly.
Anthony Mack Johnson, 37
Shot to death at a family reunion on T Street in the early morning hours of July 5 when people on the street opened fire on the reunion group. The Jacksonville, Texas, resident died and four others were wounded. Murder charges have been filed against Bennie West, 20, Darryl Stewart, 19, and Laquiria Foreman, 15. Hearings are pending.
Samuelle Waddell, 18
Shot to death July 6 in the 400 block of South Robinson Street. No arrests.
Ruben Morales, 50
Was inside a home July 7 in the 1100 block of Oxford Street in Delano where officers responded to a burglary call. He fought with officers before Officer Jose Mejia shot him. The shooting was ruled justifiable.
Edward Junior Hidalgo, 21
Shot to death July 11 in the 2300 block of Lynwood Street. No arrests.
Annette Ayala, 44
Stabbed more than 30 times in an apartment in the 6200 block of Victor Street on July 14. Her husband, Louis Ramirez Ayala, 41, pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. Normally the charge carries only a 15-year-to-life term, but he had two prior strike convictions that tripled the term. The use of a knife added another five years.
Misael Gallegos, 18, and Israel Gallegos, 22
Shot to death July 15 in Edison. Investigators said the killings appeared drug-related. Two others were wounded. Jose Chavez Valencia, 44, of Edison, and Martin Valdez Carranza, 44, of Arvin, are awaiting a trial on two murder counts and two attempted murder counts.
Wayne West Jr., 26
Killed July 19 when two men opened fire on a group of men standing in front of the South Owens Meat Market at 347 S. Owens St. West was killed and another man was injured. No arrests have been made.
Michael Deans, 34
Shot to death in the 800 block of Bradshaw Street on July 20. No arrests.
Jerry Dean Munoz, 42
Shot to death in the 4800 block of Pioneer Drive on July 21. Michael Saenz Jr., 21, is awaiting a trial on murder charges.
Andrea Plaza-Santa Cruz, 38
Shot to death July 23 at her home in the 15000 block of Redwood Springs Drive. She was shot by her husband, Angel Samma Santa Cruz, 44, who then killed himself. She was a correctional officer at Wasco State Prison where he was a captain.
Joshua Robertson, 27
Died from constricted air flow to his lungs after he struggled with four Cal State Bakersfield wrestlers at a Del Taco restaurant in Rosedale. The district attorney's staff, over the objections of Robertson's family, declined to file charges. Prosecutors said the wrestlers had no way of knowing that when they left him against a building with his chin onn his chest, that position could be fatal. Robertson died July 23.
Joshua Smith, 27
Shot to death July 23 at 4109 De Ette Ave. allegedly by his 67-year-old father, Thomas Smith, deputies said. A trial for the father on a murder charge is set for March.
Robert Lewis Shockley Jr., 42
Found Aug. 4 with major trauma to his body inside a room at the Globe Motel, 1701 S. Union Ave. The details of his trauma were not released. No arrests.
Roosevelt Mitchell III, 21
Shot to death Aug. 7 in the 1800 block of Canter Way as the convicted gang member and another man tried to break into an apartment. The resident, whose name was not released, had a gun and engaged in a gunfight with the intruders. Mitchell was killed while the other one ran away. No arrests were made.
Annette Sowders, 45, and her mother, Sharon Sue Cannon, 69
Shot to death in their Plymouth Avenue home in Oildale Aug. 8. Robert Fuller, 56, the estranged husband of Sowders, is facing two counts of murder. Sowders' attorney said Sowders did all the right things to try to keep Fuller away from her but it didn't work. Two daughters of Sowders, ages 8 and 5, were in the home at the time of the killings.
Lorena Gonzalez, 29
Shot to death Aug. 21 in her home on 18th Avenue in Delano, by her estranged husband, 24-year-old Merced Gonzalez, police said. Her sister, Delia Gonzalez, was also wounded. Merced Gonzalez then shot himself to death.
Darian Wright, 15
Shot to death Aug. 29 in the 1000 block of McNew Court. Deputies said the incident could be gang-related. No arrests.
Heladio Ramirez Lopez, 21
Shot to death Sept. 2 in the 300 block of Campus Drive in Arvin. No arrests.
Hector Felix-Leon, 47
Shot to death Sept. 9 in the 5800 block of Panama Road near Lamont. No arrests.
Gilbert Salazar, 18
Shot to death Sept. 12 at 2025 Potomac Ave. after a group of four people drove up and made gang comments to Salazar and others in the front yard. One of the suspects in the vehicle started shooting. No arrests.
Curtis Williams Jr., 18
Shot to death Sept. 12 in the 1400 block of Reese Avenue. Deputies arrested Devin Ray Bell, 21, Michael Julius Lee, 18, and Eddie Earl Howard, 17, on murder, gang and witness intimidation charges. All are scheduled for a preliminary hearing in January.
Aldahir Calderon Cruz, 24
Shot to death Sept. 29 at Muller and Harmon roads near Lamont. Cruz drove to that spot where he was met by his assailants in a separate vehicle. No arrests.
Jerry Crook, 49
Suffered blunt force trauma to the head Oct. 3 at Wasco State Prison where he was an inmate. No arrests.
Pete Fimbres, 25, and Julio Herrera, 18
Shot to death Oct. 9 near the alley of the Apple Market, 111 N. Central Valley Highway, in Shafter. Michael Fimbres, 20, and Carlos Fimbres, 27, both brothers of Pete, were also wounded. No arrests.
Paul Maytorena, 18
Stabbed to death Oct. 22 in the 10400 block of San Emidio Street in Lamont. Eddie Renee Catalan, 20, has been charged with murder in the case and is set for a preliminary hearing in February.
Adam Duran, 24
Stabbed while trying to steal a car Oct. 25 in the 1400 block of Quincy Street by a 52-year-old neighbor who tried to get him to stop. The two fought and the neighbor felt his life was in danger so he stabbed Duran in the abdomen. Duran died. The neighbor was not charged with a crime.
Jerry Ennis, 58
Stabbed Nov. 2 while in his car in the 3600 block of M Street. He walked to an apartment where he died at the front door. No arrests have been made.
Terry Dillon, 36
Shot to death Nov. 6 inside the home he shared with his father, Robert Lee Beard, 63, in the 21200 block of Kenniston Street in California City. Beard told officers he retrieved a .38-caliber pistol as he ordered his son out of the house. A struggle ensued and Dillon was struck twice by gunfire. No charges have been filed against Beard.
Manuel Madrid, 18
Stabbed Nov. 10 on Virginia Avenue, but he made it to 601 Burnett Drive where he died. He and another man were walking on Virginia Avenue when they were approached by people in a dark-colored compact car. Both Madrid and his companion were stabbed. No arrests.
Steven Henderson, 51
Shot in the head Nov. 17 at a home in the 800 block of Haley Street. Don Goldman, 31, has been charged with murder and is scheduled for a hearing in February.
Ayonna Thompson, 6 months
Suffered blunt force trauma to her head in 4700 block of Country Place Lane and died Nov. 18. Roman Rey Brand, 23, of Ridgecrest, admitted in a KBAK-TV interview that he hit his girlfriend's child in the head because the baby was crying. He is awaiting court hearings on murder charges.
Augie Senoran, 43
Found dead Nov. 21 at his home in the 1300 block of Eureka Street. He had traumatic injuries to his head and face. No arrests have been made.
Raul Rudy Coronell, 19
Shot to death Nov. 29 at the B&H Market at 330 Cottonwood Road. No arrests have been made.
Naveyah Patterson, 7 months
Died Dec. 2 from blunt force trauma she received at a home in the 200 block of W. E Street in Tehachapi. Alex Vasquez, 23, the live-in boyfriend of the child's mother, was charged with murder. A preliminary hearing is set in March.
Darlene Michelle McDaniel, 42
Stabbed to death Dec. 2 in a mobile home at 3535 Stine Road she shared with Russell Hayne Jr., 59. He admitted in a KGET-TV interview that he killed her in a fit of rage. He is awaiting further hearings in January on murder charges.
Joe Louis Wooten Jr., 45
Had a history of drug crimes, was shot to death Dec. 3 in the 500 block of 28th Street. He was seated in the driver's seat of a station wagon. No arrests have been made.
Martin De Luna, 24
Shot to death Dec. 4 in the 1700 block of Potomac Avenue. No arrests have been made.
Dennis Ray Allen II, 26
Shot to death Dec. 5 in the 2000 block of Oscar Avenue. No arrests have been made.
Leonard Garcia, 21
Shot to death Dec. 13 in the 900 block of Pearl Street. He had a confrontation with two men occupying a white, two-door sedan. No arrests have been made.
Darrin Hogg, 22
Engaged in a fatal gunbattle Dec. 18 with three officers at Niles Place near Union Avenue. Hogg opened fire after an officer asked to talk to him. Police were investigating a shooting near where Hogg lived. The two police cars the officers arrived in were hit six times each. The shooting is still under review.
Matthew Anthony Romero, 19
Shot to death Dec. 20 in the 5500 block of Monitor Street. No arrests have been made.
Gilbert Garcia Olmos, 35
Shot to death Dec. 20 in the 1800 block of East California Avenue. He had been walking with his wife when people in a red crew cab truck pulled up to the couple, called out to Olmos and started shooting. No arrests have been made.
Balwinder Singh, 54, and Moti Lal, 53
Stabbed to death Christmas Day at the GMB Ice Cream Warehouse Inc. facility at 644 Belle Terrace. Narinder Kumar, 55, the brother of Lal and business partner of Singh, has told KBAK-TV that he had "no choice" in the matter because of longstanding bad blood, threats and insults. Kumar was charged with the two homicides and is awaiting further hearings.