The founder of Dulcich & Sons, the Delano farming company best known for "pretty lady" grapes, was shot and killed Wednesday morning.
Jakov Prosper Dulcich, 84, was found with multiple gunshot wounds around 8:30 a.m.in the area of Woollomes Avenue and South Browning Road, according to the Kern County Sheriff's Office.
Investigators determined Dulcich's SUV and the suspect vehicle had been traveling on South Browning Road when an occupant of the suspect vehicle fired into Dulcich's SUV. The SUV continued south on South Browning and hit another vehicle that had pulled to the shoulder.
The suspect vehicle drove to the scene of the crash and became involved in a physical altercation with the driver of the third vehicle, according to sheriff's officials. The suspect fired at least one round but did not hit the driver, who fled into a nearby vineyard.
The shooter has been described only as a Hispanic man in his early 20s.
Sheriff's Sgt. David Hubbard said it's believed there were at least two people in the suspect vehicle, which was described as a small sedan. He said investigators are following up on leads and trying to determine a motive.
According to the company website, Dulcich and his wife emigrated from Croatia and, after spending a year in Chile, settled in Delano in 1960. They worked in vineyards owned by his uncle until they had saved enough money to buy 80 acres of farmland in 1975.
Dulcich began creating brand labels for different grapes he grew, and in 1992 Dulcich & Sons began marketing its grapes to the world, the website says. In 1996, the company's Sunlight International sales division was created and its first storage facility built.
As of 2012, the company had more than 2,600 acres of farmland and multiple storage facilities covering tens of thousands of square feet.
Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 861-3110 or the Secret Witness at 322-4040.