Gun violence has been on the rise in Bakersfield this year, and ongoing efforts by the Bakersfield Police Department and its law enforcement partners to disrupt and impact the cycle of gang and gun violence included five separate efforts within the past few days, the department said Friday in a news release.
The five incidents resulted in the arrest of seven individuals and the confiscation of eight guns.
At 2:28 a.m. Friday, BPD officers spotted a vehicle that had previously been reported stolen and stopped it in the 800 block of Chapman Street in east Bakersfield. The driver of the vehicle, Armando Meza, 30, ran from the scene, but was taken into custody with no incident, police said. Both passengers in the vehicle, Ralph Frias, 28, and Samantha Ayala, 22, were found to be in possession of loaded firearms, police said. One of the firearms had an obliterated serial number. All three were arrested on suspicion of associated stolen property and weapons charges.
Two more operations on Thursday, one a vehicle enforcement stop in the in the 1500 block of Flower Street, and the other a probation search in the 4900 block of Centaur Street, netted three more loaded guns. Mark Guzman, 18, in the traffic stop, was arrested on weapons charges. As a result of the probation search, Ray Allen, 22, a previously convicted felon, was arrested on charges of gang participation, being a felon in possession of a firearm and other weapons violations, police said.
At just before 3 p.m. Tuesday, BPD officers went to the 1400 block of Kentucky Street in east Bakersfield following a report of a man brandishing a firearm. Kyle Tillery, 31, who was found to be on parole, submitted to a search, which netted a a loaded firearm on his person and an additional unserialized rifle located in his vehicle, police said. Tillery was arrested on suspicion of gang participation, being a felon in possession of a firearm and other associated charges.
And it was about 6:15 p.m. Monday that officers pulled over Darmail Simpkins, 21, in the 400 block of P Street. Simpkins was unlicensed, police said. A search of the vehicle pursuant, police said, to his license status, revealed counterfeit Oxycodone pills containing suspected Fentanyl and a loaded, unserialized handgun.
Police said Simpkins was arrested on suspicion of possessing an unregistered firearm as well as other charges.
These efforts, according to the BPD, are done in conjunction with community outreach and preventative programs. For further information regarding programs offered by the Bakersfield Police Department and its community partners, call 326-3053.